Three UK & Ericsson team up for Smart & Sustainable Networks

Three UK and Ericsson have improved energy efficiency by up to 70% at selected sites
Three UK & Ericsson have improved energy efficiency by 70% at selected sites, through a combination of hardware & software upgrades to lower CO2 emissions

Three UK has reached a new step in its commitment to network sustainability after the deployment of next-generation AI-powered hardware and software solutions, from Ericsson. 

Over the last two years, Three UK has been working on a network modernisation initiative, with Ericsson, to improve network energy performance using a mix of industry leading energy efficient radios, AI and data analytics.

Ericsson and Three UK team up for improved energy efficiency 

Three UK is a telecommunications network founded in 2003, which now covers 99% of the UK outdoor population with its combined 3G and 4G network and carries 28% of mobile data traffic in the country.

Stockholm-based Ericsson envisions a world where limitless connectivity redefines business and pioneers a sustainable future. It runs on the values of perseverance, professionalism, respect and integrity, which ensures smooth partnerships. 

Three UK became one of the first major operators in the UK to utilise Ericsson’s dual-band Radio 4490, which:

  • Uses less power 
  • Is 25% lighter than previous models
  • Simplifies site access 
  • Quickens site upgrades.

When combined with the deployment of more energy efficient radios, Three UK has also implemented software features which consume less power per radio, during low traffic time. 

Due to advanced machine learning, passive cooling and power-saving features, the new generation of radio works autonomously across 4G and 5G networks, to switch off radio components when they are not in use. They also have the capability to switch on again in microseconds for the next service request.

The Three UK and Ericsson partnership has led to an improvement of network energy efficiency of up to 70% at some sites, all completed while improving network performance, which has led to lower CO2 emissions.

Three UK and Ericsson's sustainable journey

“Three UK's collaboration with Ericsson marks a milestone in our commitment to sustainability,” said Iain Milligan, Chief Network Officer, Three UK. “We've achieved excellent improvements in energy efficiency while expanding network capabilities for our customers. We plan to take these learnings on board for future projects, ensuring that we continue to improve the environmental impact of our network."

“Together with Three UK, we are redefining the network of the future and making it both smarter and more energy efficient,” Evangelia Tzifa, Chief Technology Officer, Networks & Managed Services, Ericsson UK and Ireland. “To increase network availability and performance while reducing network energy consumption is a testament to the technology and expertise of our two great teams. I am both excited and proud to know that we are building a modern digital infrastructure together that brings not only superior performance for Three customers, but also helps to make the future more promising and sustainable.”

Ericsson’s 5G and AI further explored

After having worked across multiple senior executive roles at BT, Katherine Ainley joined Ericsson UK & Ireland as CEO in 2021. After being selected as one of Technology Magazine's Top 100 Women in Technology, she sat down with Mobile Magazine to discuss 5G monetisation, the impact of AI and more.

"We collaborate closely with leading operators and businesses to showcase real-world applications and the transformative potential of 5G in various industries,” she said. “Last year, we partnered with the Port of Tyne and BT to deploy a 5G private network and smart port technology across the entire estate. The private network will support autonomous navigation technology, remote crane operations, connected drones, wearable technology and a connected ecosystem of AI sensors.”


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