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KPIs and Objectives for a Green Network

Author: NGMN Alliance -
Executive summary by Giovanni Romano

This article summarizes the vision of NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks), an operator driven Alliance, in the White Paper “Green Future Networks: KPIs and Target Values for Green Network Assessment”. The White Paper ( identifies a set of KPIs and objectives for measuring network performance in terms of energy efficiency and quality of service.

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Energy efficiency and the achievement of the zero emissions target are not only technical issues but also very relevant economic and image aspects for every operator. It therefore becomes important to share “best practices” and identify common objectives and methodologies by exchange of opinions within industry associations such as the NGMN Alliance (Next Generation Mobile Networks, and the GSM Association ( [1]. In line with the increasing emphasis on sustainability and considering the quality of service that the customer expects, NGMN has defined a methodology that combines performance and quality of experience KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) together with sustainability, environment, and energy criteria.
The result is the publication of the White Paper “Green Future Networks: KPIs and Target Values for Green Network Assessment” ( [2].
This article summarizes the view expressed by NGMN. In particular, NGMN identified the strategic topic “Sustainability and Green Future Networks” and started a project in 2020 aimed at identifying the main opportunities and challenges and to publish feasible recommendations on the issue of environmental sustainability [3]. In addition to the document covered by this article, NGMN published a number of White Papers available at [4, 5, 6, 7] and plans to publish other documents on how to reduce the environmental impact (for example, water consumption, materials) and how to improve the networks energy efficiency. In 2023, the work of NGMN will focus on three areas: networks energy efficiency, metering, and environmental sustainability and telco circular economy enablement. NGMN plans two publications on the networks energy efficiency: “Energy Savings Best Practices”, with the aim of highlighting how energy can be saved thanks to new operating methods; “Energy Efficiency – industry roadmap”, with the aim of providing decision makers with a list of key technologies, processes and optimizations. On environmental sustainability and circular economy NGMN plans to analyze together with suppliers how to enable the minimization of CO2 and the use of critical raw materials and how to recycle products and equipment as much as possible.
Finally, the topic on measurement methodologies starts from the KPIs described in this article to define a standard procedure that can be adopted by all operators.

Green Future Networks: KPIs and Target Values for Green Network Assessment

The White Paper, published in February 2023 in time for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (see Fig.1), identifies a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and objectives and proposes a methodology for consolidating the KPIs in a common way for all operators.

Figure 1: The cover of the NGMN White Paper [2]

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Two categories of KPIs are identified: environmental KPIs and energy and quality of experience KPIs. NGMN wanted to put energy and quality of experience KPIs in the same family to ensure that efficiency is not at the expense of the quality that customers expect from the network. Combining these KPIs makes it possible to propose numerical and/or qualitative thresholds and measurement methodologies to evaluate network performance.
In particular, NGMN recommends the following:

  • it is required to identify the metrics (KPI) and to define a unified measurement methodology;
  • it is recommended to develop and adopt KPIs that allow for a high level of granularity in reporting results. For example, allowing the analysis of specific aspects such as energy usage in each part of the network and ideally at a geographical and/or site level.

The activity of NGMN does not end with this publication. The plan is to improve the procedures and metrics based on the experience gained in the field.

Performance indicators

Fig.2 shows the two categories (pillars) of indicators identified by NGMN:

  • environmental KPIs – CO2 equivalent emissions [8] play a key role in assessing a company’s impact on climate change. Another key aspect is the contribution to the circular economy, considering aspects such as waste production, recycling activities and the use of additional resources (for example water).
    These KPIs are normally published in the companies’ sustainability reports. In addition to these factors, long-term strategies towards the goal of zero emissions should also be considered. This requires identifying intermediate targets such as direct and indirect emissions;
  • energy consumption and quality of experience KPIs – these KPIs consider the total energy consumed by the operator and the efficiency and intensity of its usage [4][5]. However, energy indicators must be closely related to the quality of experience, to ensure transparency on energy consumption required to provide a certain level of quality of service.

Figure 2: High level overview of the identified KPIs [2]

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Based on the classification above, and with the aim of evaluating the different network segments, the White Paper identifies the KPIs reported in Tables 1and 2.

Table 1: Environmental KPIs and their thresholds [2]

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Table 2: Energy consumption and quality of experience KPIs and their thresholds [2]

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Measurement methodology

NGMN proposes a measurement methodology based on mapping each KPI into families. A numerical score is associated with each KPI and then the evaluation for the “family” can be derived from these scores. For the qualitative parameters the score is zero points if the KPI is not met and a pre-established value if it is achieved. Instead for the quantitative parameters it is necessary to define the range of values, for example based on progressive thresholds. The White Paper recommends expressing both a final evaluation and partial evaluations based on a family of KPIs, whose result is the sum of the associated KPIs. The final classification, on the other hand, can be obtained in two ways:

  • combine family results into a single score to be reflected in the company’s energy or “green” classification;


  • classify family results in a “green class” and then combine the results into an overall energy classification.

The second approach is recommended, since it allows operators to focus corrective actions on the issues of greatest interest. NGMN also proposes a methodology to harmonize how the various KPIs are quantified and published in sustainability reports. In particular, the greater the granularity used in the evaluation, the greater the ability to analyze and intervene on network performance. For example, country-level reporting allows each company to compare itself with peers operating in that country and, in the case of groups, with other subsidiaries operating in different countries. It is also recommended to develop structured reporting standards, contrary to what happens in some cases, where the data is only present in the form of text or graphics.


Energy efficiency and the achievement of the zero emissions target are increasingly important not only from the point of view of image but also from a technical and economic point of view for every operator. With this in mind, operators’ associations such as GSMA and NGMN Alliance have addressed the problem and discussed how to measure and improve system performance. For this reason, NGMN has published the White Paper “Green Future Networks: KPIs and Target Values for Green Network Assessment” ( [2] with the aim of identifying performance targets and common reporting methodologies. The effort to define standard reporting methods is very important, as it makes it possible to define homogeneous classifications among the various operators and at the same time take into account national conditions (for example, availability of the electricity grid) or the quality of the service provided (for example, in terms of Gbytes supplied per customer and number of customers). The activity to define proper KPIs is not static and requires continuous adjustments both to take into account the new regulations and to further refine the various KPIs.


Main contributors to the NGMN White Paper “Green Future Networks: KPIs and Target Values for Green Network Assessment”, in alphabetical order: Javan Erfanian (Bell Canada), Saima Ansari (Deutsche Telekom), Lee Valerius (HPE), Marc Peters (IBM), Richold Van der Wal (KPN), Pary Arpoudam (Orange), Ioana Lupa (Orange), Elena Meshkova (Umlaut)

Project lead: Saima Ansari/Deutsche Telekom, NGMN Programme Manager: Chris Hogg


  1. GSMA, “ESG Metrics for Mobile,” giugno 2022.
  2. NGMN Alliance, “Green Future Networks: KPIs and Target Values for Green Network Assessment,” February 2023.
  4. NGMN Alliance, “Green Future Networks Network Equipment Eco-Design and End to End Service Footprint.,” July 2021.
  5. NGMN Alliance, “NETWORK ENERGY EFFICIENCY,” October 2021.
  6. NGMN Alliance, “Metering for sustainable networks,” January 2022.
  7. NGMN Alliance, “Green Future Networks: Telco Supply Chain Sustainability,” January 2023.
  8. EC Eurostat, “Statistics explained: Carbon Dioxide Equivalent,” March 2017.
  9. ITU-T, “L.1470 Greenhouse gas emissions trajectories for the information and communication technology sector compatible with the UNFCCC Paris Agreement,” January 2020.
  10. ITU-T, “L.1471 Guidance and criteria for information and communication technology organizations on setting Net Zero targets and strategies,” Septemebr 2021.
  11. Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), “Science Based Targets Initiative,” 2022.