The GSMA’s Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) benchmarking methodology has been incorporated in a global standard by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The MEE, which benchmarks the energy efficiency of mobile networks, is included in the ITU’s ‘Methodology for Environmental Impact Assessment of ICT Goods, Networks and Services’.
The MEE Benchmarking methodology is a way to analyse the performance of a network by comparing it with other (anonymous) network providers. The analysis is ‘normalised’ to allow for like-for-like comparison of networks and provides indications as to how to improve energy efficiency. It also allows users to track progress and report back to stakeholders. According to the GSMA, there are possible savings of 20-25% in energy costs and carbon emissions for underperforming networks.
The GSMA, which represents mobile operators worldwide and comprises nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, developed the benchmarking methodology to help the industry lower its greenhouse gas emissions. It’s part of the commitments set out in Mobile's Green Manifesto published by the GSMA and the Climate Group in 2009 (see The Green IT Review coverage here). The methodology has now been adopted by 35 mobile network operators who run more than 200 networks across 145 countries.
The GSMA has also launched an MEE Optimisation service to leverage the benchmarking approach. It involves a detailed analysis to identify and assess the inefficiencies of a network and provide operators with a cost-benefit analysis and action plan to improve energy efficiency.
The GSMA should be congratulated on developing the benchmark and getting it adopted by the ITU (the UN agency for communication and information technologies). It demonstrates some significant collaboration across the mobile industry and between the organisation and the EU. There’s a lot at stake here - mobile use is continually growing as more and more content is pushed over the networks, so its important that operators look to their networks first to see what savings they can make.
Energy efficiency is an increasing priority for mobile network operators globally and there are also some more fundamental technology approaches to reducing energy use. The prime example is Green Touch, aimed at achieving a 1000-fold reduction in communications power use by 2015.