5G uses less electricity than 4G says Nokia

5G is not an ecological disaster, says Nokia. According to a study carried out by the equipment manufacturer in Spain, the mobile network of the future also consumes less electricity than 4G. Ultimately, the arrival of 5G will therefore make it possible to save energy and mitigate the explosion in data consumption. Explanations.


5G is in the sights of activists and elected environmentalists. In a column published in September, 70 elected French environmentalists also affirm that 5G will be accompanied by a “Big inflation in electricity consumption”, contributing to global warming.

To wring the havoc on preconceived ideas, the network equipment manufacturer Nokia and Telefónica, a Spanish telecommunications operator, have produced a study on the real power consumption of 5G. Verdict: “5G networks are up to 90% more efficient in terms of energy per unit of traffic than older 4G networks”, advance Nokia in a press release published on December 2, 2020.

On the same subject: here is the map of the first 5G antennas authorized by the ANFR

5G is a greener technology than 4G

For three months, Nokia engineers studied the power consumption of the 5G antennas installed by TelefĂłnica. For a period of time, the study focused on the actual consumption of the network in a lull or in an overload period. A real-time monitoring system kept a dashboard of the amount of power consumed per Mbps according to the distribution of the traffic load.

Despite the pressure exerted on the network at certain times of the tests, power consumption remained lower than with 4G. The 5G network relies on wireless access networks (RANs). To operate under the best conditions, these access networks do not need to be located near 5G antennas. De facto, they use less energy to connect to stations than the 4G architecture. “5G RAN technology is significantly more efficient than traditional technologies” emphasizes Nokia.

5G can transmit more data bits per kilowatt of power than previous wireless networks. The explosion in data consumption (which should reach 200 GB / month in 2025), brandished like a scarecrow by environmentalists, will therefore not be accompanied by a colossal increase in electricity consumption. On the contrary, nascent 5G networks are better prepared for the increase in data consumption than current 4G networks. “5G is a natively greener technology” Nokia concludes.