Kathy Gibson is at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona – 5G has moved quickly from a distant dream to definite reality. But operators need to think about the energy required to keep their 5G networks running.

Fong Liangzhou, vice-president network energy product line, points out that telecommunications companies should look at modernising their power systems now.

“Operators need to realise that with the better performance and capacity of 5G, power consumption also increases,” he says. “5G could come at a high cost if we fail to innovate in power.”

The reality is that many operators’ existing power setup cannot meet the demand of 5G, and they would also have to spend a lot more for power when they roll out 5G – in fact energy bills are expected to double when 5G becomes widespread.

Operators have the prospect of a high capex outlay for replacing or modernising all aspects of their power solutions: grid, rectifier, battery and DCDB.

The main challenge they have to address, is reducing energy consumption while increasing operational efficiency, Liangzhou says.

To help mitigate the challenges, he says that 5G power needs to be simple, intelligent and highly efficient.

Huawei has launched two new power solutions, addressing the different requirements of indoor and outdoor installations.

The blade products make deployment in 5G networks simpler, offering double the capacity and power density.

Management has been made for efficient with SmartSite that helps operators to pinpoint their investment, make their power consumption and O&M (operations and maintenance) more efficient while also improving site security.

An additional 17% energy efficiency is made possible with E2E that reduces the energy costs associated with the battery, reduces losses through the rectifier, offers intelligent cooling to drive costs down by another 5%, and saves another 1% of energy through efficient AAU powering.

The system is simpler to roll out because customers can use a single cabinet for outdoor sites; and a blade-based solution for indoor sites.

These soutions are taking off in markets like South Korea and Japan, where rental costs are high. With a smaller footprint, the blade solutions re able to reduce rentals by 50% – and driving a one-year return on investment (ROI).

Another customer, in China, found that its existing power cannot support 5G. Using existing cabinets, Huawei was able to upgrade and simplify its power systems to meet the 5G requirements.

Huawei’s network energy product line embraces telecoms, data centres, solar plants and BMP.