Wednesday 22 February 2023

Energy and Carbon Footprint Reduction are a Priority for Orange

At Huawei's Mobile Broadband Forum (#HWMBBF) 2022 in October, Emmanuel Chautard, SVP of Operations & Networks Economics at Orange Group presented their vision on transitioning 'Towards a Green, Software-based Telco'.

During his talk he mentioned that to fight global warming, Orange has identified three areas of concern:

  1. The carbon footprint does not scale with traffic and there is no proportional relation between them
  2. A major element source of greenhouse emissions is the customer device which can have a big impact on carbon footprint reduction.
  3. Finally, ICT and softwarization can have a positive contribution to the overall carbon footprint impact for the society and for the other verticals and industries.

Devices, on the other hand has a huge impact on carbon footprint reduction. An article on the group page highlights that it takes around 70kg of raw material to make a 120g smartphone (500 times its weight!). Raw material has to take four turns around the world before the phone arrives in our hands.

In his talk Emmanuel highlighted that Orange is reviewing how devices are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. To support this fact he shared French regulator statistics showing that more than 75% of the carbon emissions are associated with the devices whereas the share for Network traffic is reduced to 6% for overall network and data centers consume 16% of the overall energy. Hence according to them, one quick win would be to increase the lifetime of the customer devices and focus on recycling.

The final area that we are touching in this post is Orange's transition towards software-based Telco. 

This softwarization, as can be seen in the picture above, is based on four pillars. The first being disaggregation, which is the fact that Orange plans to no longer implement black boxes within their networks as they have traditionally done. The journey towards identifying the software layer, the OS, and the infrastructure layer has started with the introduction to virtualization and deploying several Network functions on the same Cloud infrastructure. 

In addition, the softwarization journey continues further with Automation, AI and Machine Learning in order to support both the life-cycle management and the in-life management of the network. Introduction of software with APIs that are exposed Network APIs is expected to enable the on-demand network connectivity that their customers have started expecting.

Emmanuel also talked about the 100% software-enabled experimental network in Lannion, in the Britany department of France, which was announced in a press release back in June 2021 by Mavenir. The press release had noted that "This first phase of a two-year project is a key pillar in Orange’s preparations to transition towards more efficient and agile cloud-native zero-touch Open RAN networks."

The talk of the video is embedded below:

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