The Right Materials, Technology, and Deployment Considerations Can Break the mMIMO Energy Consumption Curve for More Sustainable Telco Networks

New ABI Research report details how mMIMO technology can be made and deployed sustainably while improving 5G networks’ capacity, coverage, and user experience
31 Jan 2023

The downside to 5G Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (mMIMO) is the increased power requirements of the technology compared to previous generations of Radio Access Technology (RAT). Due to this increase in power consumption and the need for more cell site deployments, equipment manufacturers must make the most sustainable products possible to improve efficiency and reduce energy-related OPEX and related emissions. A new report from global technology intelligence firm ABI Research spotlights how to make mMIMO more sustainable across the whole product lifecycle, from eco-design to product material choices to circular practices to sustainable manufacturing to responsible resource management.

“With the demand for network connectivity showing no signs of slowing down, new generations of radio technology must be energy efficient without compromising network coverage and quality for the end users,” says Megan Young, Sustainable Technologies Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

5G is opening the door to connectivity. New bandwidths, low latency, and data transfer speeds up to 10 times that of LTE allow for more applications to be supported, and the demand for fast 5G connectivity increases. “mMIMO adds a much higher number of antennas to 5G cell sites, which focuses energy for significant improvements in data throughput, coverage, and efficiency. Innovative designs and advanced technologies that improve energy efficiency must be implemented to ensure the mMIMO antennas can uphold the network quality and capacity while reducing energy consumption at cell sites. Sustainable practices in design, development, manufacture, and deployment should also be put into operation to enable a more sustainable 5G network,” Young explains.

Many vendors are joining the market with innovative mMIMO product portfolios, and competition drives innovation in sustainability for telco infrastructure. Vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia are leading the way in terms of sustainable development of mMIMO technology, with innovative energy-saving technologies, in-house silicon chipset creation hosting virtualized Radio Access Network (RAN) features, and Industry 4.0 technology-enabled manufacturing plants, some of which have been awarded lighthouse status by the World Economic Forum. Nokia has implemented liquid cooling in some of its units, reporting that this system can transfer up to 4000 times more heat than air, reducing cooling system power consumption by up to 90% and base station CO2 emissions by up to 80%.  Huawei has released a wide range of mMIMO units to suit many different deployment scenarios, with an innovative material used in the products’ radomes, and ZTE has launched the world’s lightest mMIMO radio unit, at just 9kg.

mMIMO is a power-hungry technology that requires more units to be deployed in a network to provide consistent coverage. Though it is more efficient in data transfer compared to previous generations of RAN technology, equipment manufacturers must do all they can to reduce power consumption and improve the energy efficiency of the mMIMO units. “Responsibly managing resources, employing circular practices in design and manufacture, and implementing innovative technologies that reduce power consumption will all contribute to a more energy efficient product in a more sustainable network,” Young concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Telco Infrastructure Sustainability mMIMO Technology Review report. This report is part of the company’s Sustainable Technologies research service, which provides actionable research and data designed to help companies go from sustainability pledges to sustainability execution by identifying technologies, vendors, and programs that accelerate sustainability efforts, such as reducing carbon emissions and waste.

About ABI Research

ABI Research is a global technology intelligence firm uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology solution providers and end-market companies. We serve as the bridge that seamlessly connects these two segments by providing exclusive research and expert guidance to drive successful technology implementations and deliver strategies proven to attract and retain customers.

ABI Research 是一家全球性的技术情报公司,拥有得天独厚的优势,充当终端市场公司和技术解决方案提供商之间的桥梁,通过提供独家研究和专业性指导,推动成功的技术实施和提供经证明可吸引和留住客户的战略,无缝连接这两大主体。

For more information about ABI Research’s services, contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific, or visit

Contact ABI Research

Media Contacts

Americas: +1.516.624.2542
Europe: +44.(0).203.326.0142
Asia: +65 6950.5670

Related Research

Related Service