Impact of additional mid-band spectrum on the carbon footprint of 5G mobile networks: the case of the upper 6GHz band

05 June 2023 | Spectrum

Janette Stewart | Sylvain Loizeau | Julia Allford


To better understand the environmental impacts of meeting future wireless connectivity targets in Europe, Huawei commissioned Analysys Mason to conduct a study to compare scenarios for future 5G mobile network deployments.

Specifically, this study focuses on the impact on carbon emissions of a Fifth Generation (5G) mobile network in addressing future connectivity targets through the availability of additional mid-band spectrum, compared to the network meeting the same future connectivity targets without the additional mid-band spectrum. Both with and without additional mid-band spectrum, we assume that the existing network grid will be densified (in terms of the numbers of macro sites and/or outdoor small cells), but in the absence of additional spectrum, the required densification is greater due to less spectrum being available. Impacts on carbon emissions over the 2022–2032 time period are considered, with modelling directed at achieving specific targets for future connectivity in representative dense urban area, and rural town or village in Europe, in 2030.

Overall, our analysis demonstrates that the carbon footprint of future 5G mobile networks is expected to be lower if additional mid-band spectrum is made available to meet future capacity targets, by avoiding a significant additional densification of macro sites and outdoor small cells. This applies both in the dense urban area and in the rural town or village we have modelled in our study. 

This report was presented at an interactive webinar, hosted by Forum Europe, available below.

Report PDF


Presentation PDF


Janette Stewart

Partner, expert in spectrum management, policy and valuation

Sylvain Loizeau

Principal, expert in telecoms strategy and regulation

Julia Allford