Press Release | 04 Apr 2023

Vodafone adopts tech to drive energy efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions

On-site solar panels help power a network site in Gloucester, while Vodafone uses other behind-the-scenes tech to make its network even more energy efficient.

  • Vodafone has adopted big data analytics, AI and machine learning to drive energy efficiencies across its UK network. 
  • It also installed its first on-site solar panels at a mobile telephone exchange (MTX) network site to generate reliable and sustainable energy.
  • Since 2019, data carried on Vodafone’s UK network has increased by c.300%, while energy consumption has remained flat and carbon emissions have fallen by 77%.

Vodafone UK is using big data analytics, AI, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to optimise the energy efficiency of its network, which accounts for around 95% of the company’s total energy consumption.

Vodafone has also installed its first on-site solar panels at a mobile telephone exchange (MTX) network site in Gloucester. The site, which houses technology used to route phone calls and data to and from mobile devices, will use electricity generated from the solar panels to reduce reliance on the national grid.

Vodafone invests millions of pounds every year into energy efficiency measures and renewable power as it works towards net zero for its UK operations by 2027.

The rooftop solar panels being installed at the Vodafone MTX facility in Gloucester.
The rooftop solar panels being installed at the Vodafone MTX facility in Gloucester.

This business has ‘de-coupled’ the link between data growth, energy usage and carbon emissions. Despite a 300% increase in data carried on Vodafone’s UK network since 2019 (including a 60% increase in the last two years alone), its overall energy consumption has remained flat. This is because a 4% increase in energy consumption, year-on-year across the network, has been counterbalanced by a 7% energy consumption decrease thanks to rationalisation programmes and energy savings initiatives. Plus, Vodafone’s UK carbon emissions over the same period have fallen by 77%.

Vodafone is also using a big data analytics platform, developed in-house, to drive energy efficiencies across its owned 11,500 radio base stations. Artificial intelligence and machine learning help energy specialists identify ‘consumption anomalies’ – parts of the network using more energy than expected. Targeted actions can be then delivered to make the sites more energy efficient.

Another initiative – the Vodafone Smart Sites programme – uses Internet of Things (IoT) and AI on Vodafone’s highest energy-consuming radio base stations, enabling it to manage the sites remotely and reduce the need for engineer visits. As of March 2023, 1,300 sites have been connected.

Data from both programmes will be used to optimise future network and energy efficiency planning.

On-site power generation is the most efficient in terms of energy consumption and carbon emissions, helping Vodafone improve its energy security and accelerating its shift towards UK-grown renewables.  

Tackling climate change needs 'big, fast, cheap' tech-powered action

Andrea Donà, Chief Network Officer, reflects on a new Vodafone-sponsored report examining how digital technologies will play a vital role in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions on the road to net zero.

The installation of 720 solar (PV) panels at its Gloucester MTX site will produce around 240,000kWh of renewable electricity a year, supplying around 12% of the site’s annual energy requirement. The tailored solution involved building the solar panels into the roof tiles (rather than raised above them) to ensure minimal impact on the local area and the protection of the natural beauty of the site.

Vodafone hopes to install rooftop solar PV across a number of additional sites across the UK over the next two years.

Andrea Dona, UK Network Director, Vodafone, said: “We all recognise the need to drive energy efficiencies – both from a financial and environmental perspective. The fact we’ve been able to decouple the link between data carried, energy consumption and carbon emissions is thanks to our laser-focus on energy efficiency – and nowhere is this more important than across our network.”

“Using our own technologies to deliver brilliant programmes such as big data and Smart Sites is hugely impactful.  Onsite power generation is another important ambition, and I’m delighted we now have our first on-site solar up and running at our Gloucester MTX.”

“We will continue to drive innovation in this space.”  

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Vodafone UK has been powered by 100% renewable electricity since July 2021. It signed a second major corporate solar power purchase agreement (PPA), giving it access to clean, highquality and affordable renewable electricity for the next 10 years. 44% of its annual energy requirement will come from UK-based renewable power sources by 2025. 🥚🥚

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

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