AT&T Wireless tops ABI North American green mobile operator research

| September 21, 2009

AT&T Wireless was ranked the greenest wireless carrier in the latest Vendor Matrix released by ABI Research. Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless claimed the second and third spots in the company’s new scorecard of North American “green” mobile network operators.

“The Green Carrier Matrix ranks operators on their environmentally friendly, clean technology initiatives primarily focused around green network infrastructure, green network equipment, green handsets and handset recycling,” says senior analyst Aditya Kaul. “AT&T leads the matrix as the greenest operator in North America followed closely by Sprint Nextel. AT&T takes a slight lead over Sprint partly due to its focus on green innovation and R&D. AT&T has already implemented programs and defined goals in the green network infrastructure area. AT&T has also defined new metrics to measure carbon reduction. Sprint, however, gets special credit in the areas of green handsets, handset recycling, green buildings, and green IT.”

The Vendor Matrix is an analytical tool developed by ABI Research to provide a clear understanding of vendors’ positions in specific markets. Vendors are assessed on the important parameters of “innovation” and “implementation” across several criteria unique to each vendor matrix.

For this particular matrix, under “innovation,” ABI Research examined operators’ innovative applications or uses of technology for green networks; the direct or indirect impact on green innovations for the supplier value chain; innovative metrics used by the operators for the measurement of carbon/energy reduction, their activities in smart grid networks, their green networks R&D, and “other” green R&D.

Under “implementation,” ABI Research scrutinized the following criteria: green mobile network infrastructure; green buildings and facilities; green IT; handset/battery/accessory recycling; the operators’ teleworking and teleconferencing initiatives; the greenness of their transport fleets and logistics; their green handset, content and user-awareness strategies, and green packaging.

Kaul said in this interview with NetworkWorld: “We look at green from the telecom perspective across handsets, recycling Wi-Fi, network infrastructure and basically the complete value chain. Green to us means technologies that are used to reduce the impact of climate change. But more importantly, it turns out that green also means dollar savings for operators. For example, reduction in energy consumption at a cell site accounts for a reduction in operating expenses.”

He goes on to praise AT&T for paying attention to how much energy is being consumed by their network infrastructure, highlighting the fact that it saved 207,549 metric tons of CO2 emissions by consolidating its dual networks, presumably into a single network.

AT&T also scored points for its work in smart grids across the country, and through its research work at Bell Labs on technologies related to saving energy.

Sprint leads in areas like green handsets and recycling of phones, as well as energy efficiency drives in their supply chain and data centres, as well as its green education initiatives for consumers, Kaul said. Other carriers however need to work harder.

“The other carriers are way behind on most of the criteria measured and only have limited programs such as handset recycling which could be considered as green. Although Verizon has some CSR initiatives like green IT, it loses out in terms of the breadth and depth of its green initiatives, which seem limited compared to competitors like Sprint and AT&T. The majority of carriers do not have an idea or any initiatives around reducing the energy consumption of their mobile network.”

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Category: Green corporations, Mobile, Smart cities

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