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EU pours €9.5m into cutting operator ‘leccy bills

Wants to halve 4G energy consumption by June 2012

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Fifteen companies have joined forces to spend the EU’s money to try to reduce the power consumption of 4G technologies, in a project with the fanciful acronym EARTH.

Energy Aware Radio and neTwork tecHnologies (EARTH) plays fast and loose with the definition of "acronym", but the idea is to get all the components making up mobile infrastructure working together to reduce overall power consumption, and the industry is chipping in €5.3m to supplement €9.5m coming from EU coffers.

Industry involvement includes most of the usual suspects: Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and a sprinkling of universities including Surrey and Dresden. Nokia Siemens is notably absent, as is Huawei, but DoCoMo and NXP Semiconductors bulk out the numbers.

The project, which already has a site with lots of pretty diagrams, will examine the practicality of putting base stations on standby when they’re not being used, using handsets as peer-to-peer base stations, hierarchical network architectures and - inevitably - ways to reduce the carbon footprint.

Last year the Green Party calculated the UK could save 300GWh a year by forcing the networks to join forces – sharing one network rather than running five separate ones – but it’s hard to imagine any of the industry stalwarts gathered under the EARTH project making that particular suggestion.

Obviously what we need is more technology, so that’s what we’ll get - once the €14.8m has been burnt, obviously. ®

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