Smart deploys AI in base stations to lower energy usage

Smart deploys AI in base stations to lower energy usage

PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications revealed on Tuesday it has deployed an AI-powered 'green radio' network solution in all its base station sites that has enabled it to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions as well as opex costs.

 The AI-powered solution, which was piloted across the Philippines in 2023, supports features such as intelligent and automated shutdowns, sleep mode, adaptive power to traffic consumption and multilayer radio power optimization.

Smart said the green radio solution enables remote and automatic adjustments to capacity and power usage depending on load conditions, which enables the telco to consolidate and conserve radio resources. The solution monitors radio coverage, maintaining network availability and scaling up as usage increases. It also has a time-based activation capability, allowing Smart to choose which time to turn the solution on or off, based on current traffic trends,

Radames Zalameda, head of network quality at PLDT and Smart, said that over the last 12 months, the green-radio solution has reduced Smart’s power consumption by around 10,900MWH. Using figures the Philippines' Department of Energy’s Emission Factor and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, Zalameda said that’s equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from more than 1,690 gasoline-powered vehicles driven for a year, or carbon dioxide emissions from electricity consumption of 920 homes for a year.

Lower power consumption also means lower costs for Smart, as electricity bills are typically the biggest single operating expense of mobile networks.

"Running the network constantly even when traffic is much lower, especially during evening hours, is costly and inefficient in the use of network resources. Our green radio innovation is proven to harness artificial intelligence to track activity on our network so that we can reduce the power consumption of our cell sites whenever they are not being fully utilized," said Zalameda. "This means that certain elements of a cell site are turned off when demand is low but are automatically switched on when demand comes back. Combined with Smart's self-organizing network (SON), this also enables us to adjust the capacity of the cell sites as needed to support data traffic.”

Smart said it will continue to find ways realise more energy savings this year with adoption of predictive and machine-learning capabilities in its network.

PLDT Group’s decarbonization roadmap aims to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. To that end, PLDT recently secured a PHP1 billion Green Loan facility from HSBC Philippines to partially fund the ongoing nationwide modernization and expansion of its fiber network supporting internet delivery platforms.

PLDT said it’s also actively exploring integration of renewables, green technologies, and various energy optimization initiatives.


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