Safaricom 5G Launch Marks Telco’s Climate Action Compliance


GSMA, also known as the Global System for Mobile Communications has released its first edition about the state of the industry on climate action. Titled Mobile Net Zero – State of The Industry on Climate Action 2021, the report is the first of its kind from the organization, and has explored how the mobile industry is progressing toward net-zero by the year 2050.

It should be noted that climate action is part of the UN’s campaign ‘Race to Zero’ that aims to rally leadership and support from all non-state actors for sustainable and zero-carbon recovery.

According to the campaign, all members have since been urged to the same goal of halving emissions by 2030, and attaining net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.

Some of the insights that have been gathered from the report include the following:

  1. Carrier covering 50 percent of the global mobile connections and 65 percent of industry revenues have not committed to science-based targets.
  2. 36% of the mobile industry by revenue and 31% of the mobile industry by connections have credibly committed to net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier through the UN Race to Zero campaign.
  3. Mobile operators worldwide are stepping up and committing to undertaking the relevant actions necessary to deliver a net-zero world as laid out by the Climate Action Pathways.
  4. By 2020, 60 mobile operators providing 69% of the world’s mobile connections and 80% of revenue disclosed their climate impacts, risks and opportunities to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
  5. 5G networks are built with network energy efficiency in mind; 5G’s specification calls for a 90% reduction in the energy used to transfer each bit of data. 

The last point is key in the Kenya case because leading operator Safaricom has since launched 5G services, albeit in a testing phase. Airtel Kenya has also announced that it has some 5G antennas around, but no official word has been released by Kenya’s second-largest operator.

Before the year end, Safaricom says it will have 5G services in various parts of the country, including Kisumu, Eldoret, Nairobi and Kisii. More areas will reportedly follow.

According to GSMA, ‘this will prove important at appoint in the journey to Net-Zero.’

5G is also one factor that demonstrates compliance.

By the end of 2020, Safaricom was at 9 percent reduction in carbon footprint. The development has been linked to its partnership between the Kenya Forest Services, and local community forest associations to grow 5 million trees over half a decade to offset deforestation.

Lastly, the report mentions that Safaricom is working on areas that focus on energy efficiency, promoting alternative clean energy sources and managing its electronic waste. It is a member of GSMA.