The operation of cellular network infrastructure incurs significant electrical energy consumption. From the perspective of cellular network operators, reducing this consumption is not only a matter of showing environmental responsibility, but also of substantially reducing their operational expenditure. We discuss how dynamic operation of cellular base stations, in which redundant base stations are switched off during periods of low traffic such as at night, can provide significant energy savings. We quantitatively estimate these potential savings through a first-order analysis based on real cellular traffic traces and information regarding base station locations in a part of Manchester, United Kingdom. We also discuss a number of open issues pertinent to implementing such energy-efficient dynamic base station operation schemes, such as various approaches to ensure coverage, and interoperator coordination
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