Telecom firms turn greener to lure Asia consumers

Telecom firms turn greener to lure Asia consumers
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First Published: Thu, Jun 18 2009. 05 36 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Jun 18 2009. 05 36 PM IST
Singapore: Telecoms firms are increasingly looking at more energy efficient and recyclable products in Asia as consumers check labels for environmental credentials and companies try to save on energy costs.
“For emerging markets, green will go a long way because it’s more of a necessity,” Dipesh Mohile, a telecommunications analyst at Tonse Telecom, told the agency at a telecoms conference in Singapore on Thursday.
“Indian telecommunications operators are reaching out to the low-income high-growth rural population, so they don’t have a choice but to reduce their energy requirements.”
Only just over a third of India’s 1.1 billion population has a cell phone and research firm Gartner estimates this will grow more than 90% by 2013. Indian operator Bharti Airtel says it is working with suppliers and experimenting with alternate sources of energy like solar, wind, biofuels and hydrogen to reduce its environmental footprint.
Tentative signs of an economic recovery, which will likely boost demand for oil, saw prices jump to an eight-month high above $73 a barrel last week.
A drive towards energy efficiency makes sense due to the impact of climbing oil prices on companies’ operating expenditure, said Anup Changaroth, a director at telephone equipment manufacturer Nortel Networks.
“Typically the commercial benefits that result from producing energy-efficient equipment supersede the costs that go into it,” Changaroth said, adding that his company’s chips are 30-40% more efficient than those from the previous generation.
Cellphone maker Sony Ericsson this month unveiled two handset models which use less packaging, more recycled materials and consume less energy, and the company said it would push greener features across its product line in the next two years.
“I think the consumers are looking into that,” Peter Ang of Sony Ericsson’s Asia mobile division told the agency.
The role of greener products is increasing rapidly in the cellphone industry, with a recent ABI Research survey saying nearly half of US consumers are likely to be influenced by suppliers’ green credentials when purchasing devices.
“Overtime, packaging green products will not be just a marketing differentiator,” said Greg Unsworth, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Asia technology industry leader. “It will be an imperative because the consumers will expect green products, otherwise they won’t buy them.”
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First Published: Thu, Jun 18 2009. 05 36 PM IST