Modernisation and 5G with Adrian Zahra, Senior Manager, Radio Networks

25 January 2024

GO Green

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Can you provide details on the ongoing process of modernising our mobile network?

Essentially, we are in the process of modernising our Radio Access Network and in the process, also deploying 5G.

How has the integration of 5G been managed alongside the modernisation of the mobile network?

In modernising our mobile network, we are removing a significant amount of old and inefficient hardware. This inefficient hardware is being updated with new state of the art, technology agnostic and more energy efficient hardware. This is the main change that we are making. This change enables us to add extra capacity with 5G whilst limiting our electricity consumption increases to just around 5% compared to last year. Normally, when you develop a new technology, you end up increasing consumption by about 20-25%. Due to the way we managed our transition this is not the case.

What other changes have been made to our network?

Further on, in addition to this, we are preparing the network for VoLTE. This means that in the short to medium term we’ll be able to shift our voice traffic from 3G onto VoLTE. We’re going to be in a position to switch off 3G technology. In doing so, we’ll be able to generate savings in the range of 8%-10% on our electricity consumption. This year we will be piloting a new site solution which could allow us to decommission another piece of old hardware while still retaining 3G, thus anticipating our savings to actually before we switch off 3G.

What other initiatives have we conducted?

Other initiatives that we’ve done include the implementation of a feature called Micro Dtx. This allows for more efficient transmission of data over the radio interface. It generates savings by condensing the time interval within which data is sent to the served mobile devices. The less loaded a site is the more savings this feature can generate by condensing as much as possible traffic withing the same transmission slot. The feature reduce consumption on sites with seasonal traffic patterns, sites at the edge of the network and on all of the network during the low traffic silent hours.

How much have we saved so far from using Micro Dtx?

So far, Micro Dtx has led to savings in the range of 4-5% on the sites that support this feature.

Is there anything innovative being done?

We started piloting a feature where we’re able to switch off ‘layers’ of bandwidth. All those layers are used whenever you’re using the internet. We are trying to implement this feature where we would switch off certain ‘layers’ during hours of low traffic, where phones are mostly idle but are still transmitting and consuming energy. In order the generate savings, the system would switch off certain layers completely, leaving only one layer for basic functionality purposes. When traffic increase, these layers turn back on again. Currently, this feature is being studied further to properly assess customer experience.

Our GO Green Initiative

At GO plc, we’re not just a telecommunications company, we’re a group of people who connect people all over Malta and Gozo. We strive to maintain this connectivity, not just digitally, but also physically. It’s important that we take care of our physical environment so that future generations can also enjoy the same connectivity. That’s why we’ve set up GO Green, an extension of GO primarily focusing on helping sustain and improve the environment whenever possible.


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This blog post was written by Benjamin Thomas Scerri – Sustainability Associate, GO Green.

Benjamin is a member of the GO Green team. His main focus is keeping track of new ways in which to make GO more sustainable wherever and whenever possible.