MTN is one of the world’s ten largest mobile operators with over 270 million subscribers across 19 markets in Africa. It is taking a more holistic and data driven approach with its “Project Zero” which targets a 47% reduction in scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2030, with a net zero pledge by 2040. The project aims to tackle emissions through a multi-pronged approach that includes updating its own operations, but also going to market with RFPs with certain targets for their own suppliers.
More sustainable operations
In terms of ensuring their own operations are optimized to limit emissions, MTN is engaged in several initiatives. The company has developed an intelligent power monitoring and management tool for its sites leveraging smart meters for data collection. It is also rolling out to its OPCO’s across Africa. The company is also working with equipment vendor partner Huawei to upgrade its RAN to enable AI-automated sleep and shutdown of base stations when traffic is low, as well as exploring RAN sites that require no air conditioning. RAN, for example, can consume as much as 80% of a cellular network’s energy consumption.
It is also upgrading its own storage batteries and power supply systems at data centers (and powered sites) to support the use of more renewables into the overall mix. For example upgrading batteries to “uninterruptable power systems” (UPS) provide consistent energy despite fluctuations in the renewable grid. The UPS batteries can provide a constant energy supply sourced from renewables to critical data centers at times when solar, wind, hydro and other sources are not available.
MTN – engaging suppliers for better outcomes
During 2021 the company engaged in 150 partnerships with suppliers, such as energy service companies, to achieve gains in efficiency, energy savings, and power management. Then for some of its operating companies, MTN will be contracting out third- party energy suppliers based on cleanest energy supply. Likewise, Energy solution integrators (i.e., ESCOs) will continue to work between CSPs and Towercos to help achieve industry Net Zero goals.
MTN’s approach not only looks at how they can more efficiently operate their own networks and data centers in a more transparent way, but also looks to share many of its ambitious targets with a broader ecosystem of partners and suppliers. The result aims for a more holistic approach for the industry to become cleaner whilst helping other customer segments to achieve their goals.
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