Every so often someone comes up with a fantastic new sales pitch for the same old product. Hats off to mobile network optimization business Actix who tell us that their product will, literally, help us save the planet. According to their press release they have done research which calculates that mobile network operators are creating a global annual excess carbon footprint equivalent to running nearly 3 million 3-bedroom family homes. So, not unreasonably, they argue that if you could cut the energy costs that would be good for the environment. It follows that they can help reduce energy costs through better planning the deployment of the network. All of which is true, though you have to decide for yourself whether mobile network optimization really is the most important battleground in the war on global warming. Here are a few alternative conclusions that Actix decided not to share with us:
- Nationalize all mobile operators and turn them into one big company. That should improve efficiency by allowing duplications in coverage to be stripped out.
- Do not nationalize, but force all mobile operators to allow any and all national rivals and service providers to roam freely on their network at a capped rate. The incentive for building network where somebody already has existing network coverage will be undermined.
- Make calls more expensive so people use their mobile phones less. Less use means less network is needed.
- Ban mobile phones and make everyone use fixed lines.
In case you could not tell, I am not entirely serious ;) All I want to say here is that jumping on an environmental bandwagon might give Actix a new sales angle, but is hardly the main reason for using their services. Cutting costs is a much more straightforward reason to optimize networks. And the energy spent on providing mobile phone networks is ultimately good for the environment, if it helps encourage people to communicate remotely and cut down on the energy expense involved in travel. That is where the real energy saving lies.