Made to Order

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

The telecom industry is fast realizing the need of proper power management on

their sites to keep their operational costs down in order to remain competitive

in the market. With many new operators coming into the fray and a price war like

situation over tariffs prevailing, there is an increasing pressure on tower

operators to run the sites at the lowest cost while maintaining high uptime and

service levels.


Add to this the growing sense of corporate responsibility towards being

non-polluting, and you get the power architecture on telecom sites changing to

incorporate alternative power generating systems that were traditionally

considered to be more expensive than generating power on site through polluting

diesel generators.

New alternative energy solutions and renewable power solutions like solar and

hybrid solution models are already being deployed on the sites that are

demonstrating energy savings. Apart from deploying cleaner energy sources, tower

companies have realized that it is imperative to monitor various power consuming

elements in their telecom infrastructure, and hence real-time monitoring systems

are increasingly becoming the norm. Power currently accounts for about 2-3% of

the total telecom opex globally, and the trend is on an upswing. With the steep

power crisis and lack of proper power infrastructure in remote locations in

India, the expenditure on power is even more. In a scenario like this, the

challenge is to maintain the profitability, and yet expand the network


Expert Panel

Tuhin Mukherjee, head, global services, Emerson Network Power


AK Nagpal, telecom head, Su-Kam

Ramprasad Ananthaswamy, director, power management products, Texas
Instruments India (India) GTL Delta

Paresh Pradhan, director & president, Luminous Teleinfra

Nand Kishore Samant, AVP & head, energy management, GTL

Ankit Tandon, product manager, Acme

Sanjay Taneja, director, telecom power solution, Delta


The tower infrastructure that has two operators on an average uses 6-8 kW of

electricity per hour; thus with more than 2,50,000 existing towers and touching

4,50,000 in the next two to three years, the power bills of operators are

expected to be exorbitant.

Considering the magnitude of infrastructure and services required in this

mammoth task, power becomes very critical. Power downtime in the telecom sector

can cost companies millions in revenue. Further it being a service-driven

sector, major players are aware of the impact of power downtime.

Before the slowdown struck the global markets, foreign telecom players were

heavily investing in energy efficient power management solutions. Apart from

restructuring the infrastructure, this also involved a higher cost proposition.

Though, telecom players could not have made this investment at a better time.

While the industry was reeling under the effects of the downturn, these

companies saved considerable revenue, courtesy lower ownership costs of the

power management infrastructure.


Indian telecom companies must take a cue from this very evident scenario.

Investment in energy-efficient power solutions will reap good benefits in the

form of lower opex in the long term, and also contribute to their environmental


The Power Downtime study conducted by Emerson Network Power in association

with the Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT) reveals

that the telecom sector suffers a loss of Rs 644.52 crore annually due to

downtime. In fact, telecom witnesses the highest per unit cost of downtime

amongst all the major sectors. However, the brighter aspect is that telecom also

experiences the fastest restoration, thereby complementing the effectiveness of

power management measures.

With a high growth in terms of users, the network run-time plays a crucial

part in the business success. The key to face this challenge lies in

implementing energy efficient power solutions which can reduce the operating

expenditure of the telecom network effectively.


With newer applications being added to the modern day phones, the need to

manage power requirements efficiently is tantamount. Hence, OEMs in the telecom

space are gradually moving towards low power and eventually 'no power'

technology, where one can have telecom systems that consume very little power.

As efficient energy management makes smart use of power possible, it helps avoid

the further need for energy, keeping the environment clean.

  • Power currently accounts for about 2-3% of the total telecom opex

  • DGs are operational for roughly eight to ten hours in rural areas, and

    three to five hours in urban areas, thus putting a stress on the

    environment by way of carbon emissions and noise pollution
  • On an average 20-30 liters of diesel is consumed per tower per day
  • One liter of diesel emits 2.6 kg of CO2 emissions
  • The tower infrastructure that has two operators on an average uses 6-8

    kW of electricity per hour
  • Indian telecom sector suffers a loss of Rs 644.52 crore annually due

    to downtime

Trends that Last

The future power supply technologies will need to bring further improvements

in power conversion efficiencies and power densities in a cost-effective manner.

With the global revolution in telecommunication technologies, the requirements

of the industry is not merely individual products but a comprehensive solution

to the overall management of network. The focus will be on the improvement of

characteristics of semiconductor and magnetic materials and components,

development of advanced packaging and thermal management techniques, functional

and physical integration of components, and power management. Look at the some

of the trends that power the market.

  • Installation of energy saving devices like intelligent phase selectors,

    fuel optimizers, efficient diesel generator sets, cooling equipment at BTS

    sites, solar power generation installations for repeater sites and micro BTS

    that run on alternative energy sources like solar, wind and fuel cells.
  • Switch mode power supply (SMPS), power converter technology that provides

    the required power rails for telecom equipments at minimal losses.
  • The launch of 3G services in India offering data exchange capabilities

    among the mobile phone users would need better power management capabilities

    at the user's end.
  • Power densities in systems have gone up considerably. This is due to the

    fact that the power conversion is happening at efficiencies in excess of

    90-95%, resulting in an overall better thermal footprint. With the expanding

    features-sets demanding more power, efficient power management has enabled

    accommodation of all the features successfully.
  • Efficient power management technology is offering infrastructure sharing.
  • Mechanical movement, heat or light has been harvested through the use of

    smart sensors to power micro BTS.
  • There is also an increase in the adoption and utilization of BTS towers in

    India, with green shelter sites (with free air cooling, PCM and PIU, etc) and

    a mixture of air-conditioner and fan/ filter/ damper controlled by a smart


Technology Tornado

Operators are now evaluating the deployment of comprehensive and integrated

power solutions for the passive telecom infrastructure space, designed around

SMPS based technology rectifier modules and advanced microprocessor based

controllers. It is positioned as the leader in the telecom network power sector.

Solution providers are designing their products to increase operational

efficiency. The power systems now being developed are not only energy efficient,

but also compact in nature and designed aesthetically.

Solution providers are focusing on performance products from space critical

indoor applications to robust outdoor applications. Vendors realize that they

need to come up with ways to decrease both capital and operating expenses for

customers. The site monitoring control system (SMCS) is one of the results of

this process. It is an integrated power feeding solution to the telecom base

stations with innovative features such as a voltage stabilizer to achieve the

best possible power system efficiency over a wide AC voltage range. The market

is rich with power system intelligent controllers that enable a scheduled

start-up process of rectifier depending upon the source of input. This means the

genset can be reduced to half its size, which in turn implies that the genset

operates at a far better fuel-to-electricity conversion rate. With a focus on

the continuous improvement of total cost of ownership, vendors are combining

their solutions with advanced controlling and monitoring units that help reduce

both the capex and opex.


Vendors are working on solutions that offer economical advantages and

simultaneously being clean and green. These technologies are future proof and

readily compatible with 2G, 3G, and 4G networks, and can be applied to all kinds

of indoor and outdoor telecom sites.

High efficiency products like Power Interface Unit (PIU), HEER AC, Free

Cooling Unit (FCU), Non Adiabatic Compression Cycle (NACC) cooling systems, etc,

form the backbone of energy saving solutions. The revolutionary DC Power

architecture which eliminates AC-DC conversion losses further enhances the

system efficiency. Companies are flaunting their real-time network monitoring

and control systems such as the remote monitoring and control system (RMCS) and

network monitoring system (NMS) which enable multiple site handling and

intelligent performance measurement from a remote server using a web based

interface. This not only reduces the chances of fuel pilferage on site, but

gives the tower operators a greater control over fault monitoring and


In the coming year, industry expects to see a momentum in energy efficient

technologies which will find a greater adoption in segments like UPS and

precision cooling. Another concept that will gain more popularity with the

rapidly changing business environments is 'adaptive architecture'. It will

ensure that it is easier for organizations to adopt a flexible and modular

approach in response to the changing business needs.

CIO Checklist
  • Monitoring solutions that allow measurement, assessment and control of

    power equipments will lend a distinct advantage to CIOs
  • Choose energy efficient solutions for critical infrastructure, with a

    focus on adaptive architecture that will allow CIOs to adapt the backup

    solutions for changing the infrastructure
  • Invest in technologies that are targeted towards clean and efficient

    power management

In anticipation of a higher awareness in the market, vendors have lined up

products and solutions that can complement the existing cooling systems. This

will increase the utilization of data center space and energy, while enabling a

tiered approach to cooling based on temperatures within the entire room,

specific zones or individual racks.

There is an increased focus on developing and creating new technologies to

design circuit boards and systems that will help achieve the green goals.

Endeavor is towards delivering low power solutions that fit battery power design

challenges for a variety of applications including telecommunications. The most

crucial is the task of dynamic powering down circuitry which focuses on

chip-level power management to minimize the power consumption when the system is

not in use.

The consultants will play a key role in advising on the kind of solutions

that will best meet the requirements of an organization. Concepts such as

'energy logic' and 'adaptive architecture' will gain acceptance as more and more

companies will seek to upgrade their systems according to the rapidly changing

business environments by incurring minimum costs. Thus, products like PeX,

Optimize IT will be widely used.

The next financial year is of importance for some of the solution providers

as they begin delivering energy management solutions to operators on a pan India

basis. So far they have been doing pilot projects and have been offering EMS


The Power Engines

Efficient power solution is one of the key drivers in the year ahead. As the

telecom operators are concentrating on the rural markets, efficient power

solutions will be crucial. Innovation and improved tower design with solar

energy/other green technologies are critical need of the hour.

Earlier the opex and capex of operators was spiral due to large number of BTS

sites outlays for the telecom infrastructure and falling ARPUs due to the

falling user tariffs. Moreover, each component of the power solution was bought

from a different vendor, therefore there were power losses and lesser power

efficiencies at each component and product level. Passive infrastructure sharing

has brought about a change in the capex/opex structure of service providers.

Green Idols

A few years back, green was considered a slogan to sell a company's

corporate social responsibility activities. However, the times have changed and

adopting green practices is the key to managing power needs and consumption.

While the Government of India has started an initiative under the Bureau of

Energy Efficiency, some vendors are targeting 92% or better power efficiency.

Some have even unveiled the concept, EnergE label, a new program for labeling

the company's most energy-efficient products. The company working on this idea

will attach the EnergE label to products with high energy efficiency. All EnergE

products have the world's leading energy efficiency in their specific power

range, and offer an efficiency of 95% or higher.

The concept of energy management is still evolving with the industry players

trying to understand what needs to be done in a realistic fashion, and the

business models have to emerge. There is a need to cover a lot by the various

proponents of the energy management solutions. Also, there are certain taxation

and regulatory issues that need to be sorted out.

Globally as well, power management is a new domain. However, the scale of

experimentation has been higher with an active involvement of the government.

However, not all the models will work out in India, vendors will have to

customize solutions keeping the industry's power needs in mind.

Heena Jhingan