Self-Powering Phone Masts: Vodafone Improving Rural Coverage

Vodafone claims self-powered phone masts will assist it reach net zero in the United Kingdom by 2027, as well as decrease the expense and complexity of deploying mobile infrastructure in the country’s most remote regions.

Because of their high efficiency, small platforms have the ability to significantly reduce power consumption. The fact that they are highly efficient lowers their operating costs and eliminates a major source of emissions from mobile operators’ energy bills.

Meanwhile, fiber backhaul availability and a link to the electricity grid are two of the most challenging aspects associated with erecting masts in rural areas.

Vodafone is convinced that the new mast design it has been developing with Crossflow Energy for the past two years helps to address these two problems.

Vodafone’s self-powering masts

Crossflow’s wind turbine technology is combined with the newest advancements in solar and battery power to offer a dependable energy supply that does not require connection to the electricity grid or diesel generator backups.

The site’s use of renewable energy reduces its environmental effect, and a quiet bird-friendly turbine ensures that the mast is safe even in areas of exceptional natural beauty. When it comes to assisting the government in achieving its mobile coverage objectives, these features will be beneficial.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to show how our self-powered Eco-Tower solves the problem of harnessing ‘small wind’ to offer not just that all important carbon reduction but also significant commercial benefits,” said Martin Barnes, Crossflow energy CEO.

“In the case of Vodafone, it will help to accelerate the expansion of rural connectivity, transform energy consumption patterns and deliver significant economic and carbon savings.

“Our turbine technology has equally strong applications for so many other industries, but to have such a high-profile player as Vodafone deploying our Eco-Tower is a major endorsement for us and our technology.”

Vodafone has committed to 100% renewable energy for its UK network, and it is already powered by entirely clean sources.

Vodafone’s use of more efficient network technology, analytics tools, and the decommissioning of less efficient legacy core and 3G radio infrastructure have all helped to reduce consumption.

Tesko also plans to operate at net zero by 2030 and across its entire supply chain by 2040. Other environmental efforts include the use of more power-efficient 5G radio components as well as the use of drone technology to create digital doubles that eliminate the need for engineers’ site inspections. It also aims to achieve even lower energy consumption with OpenRAN technology.

Later this year, a test of the new mast design will take place before a wider rollout across the UK.

“We are committed to improving rural connectivity, but this comes with some very significant challenges. Connecting masts to the energy grid can be a major barrier to delivering this objective, so making these sites self-sufficient is a huge step forward for us and for the mobile industry,” said Andrea Dona, Vodafone chief network officer.

“Our approach to managing our network as responsibly as possible is very simple: we put sustainability at the heart of every decision. There is no silver bullet to reducing energy consumption, but each of these steps forward takes us closer to achieving net zero for its UK operations by 2027.”