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Telefónica creates platform for second-hand network kit

Spanish operator group Telefónica wants other telcos including its own operating companies (opcos) to reuse its network equipment.

To facilitate this, Telefónica this week revealed it has rolled out MAIA, which is essentially a classified advertising platform that enables its opcos to list the gear they have available for reuse and ship it to where it is needed. If an item doesn’t attract interest from a telco within the group, then MAIA makes it possible to connect with third parties and arrange a sale.

Telefónica said the MAIA project began at the end of 2020 and has since been implemented group-wide. To date, 73,000 pieces of equipment have been reused.

“Every year more than 100 billion tonnes of resources enter the economy and only 8.6 percent are recycled. This is an unsustainable situation that we all need to reverse with more circular processes and supply chains,” said Fernando Valero, global supply chain director at Telefónica, in a statement on Wednesday. “MAIA is an example of how by bringing together the best technological and operational capabilities we can carry out this transformation that has allowed us to create an ecosystem of collaboration between companies and partners to substantially increase the reuse of equipment.”

MAIA is part of Telefónica’s over-arching circular economy plan, under which it aims to reuse, resell and recycle 100 percent of its network equipment by 2025. By 2030, Telefónica aims to send absolutely nothing to landfill, becoming a 100 percent zero waste company.

It has set a few interim targets to help it achieve this aim. For instance, by 2024, Telefónica wants to refurbish and reuse 90 percent of the routers and set-top-boxes collected from customers. Telefónica also aims to introduce what it calls eco-design criteria in Telefónica-branded customer equipment, and integrate so-called ‘circularity criteria’ in all purchases of customer electronic equipment by 2025. Presumably this means products must use recyclable materials and be straightforward to refurbish. In addition, Telefónica wants to refurbish half a million mobile phones, through various initiatives, by 2030.

As well as overhauling its internal processes and procurement, Telefónica is also boosting its environmental credentials with services like Solar360, its new solar self-consumption (i.e. domestic solar energy) joint venture in Spain with energy firm Repsol. Furthermore, earlier this year, Telefónica’s CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete went to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to talk up the environmental benefits of digital transformation.

These efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Telefónica this week ranked top in analyst firm STL Partners’ Telecoms Sustainability Scorecard, earning merit for its zero waste strategy in particular. Verizon, Belgium’s Proximus, Dutch incumbent KPN, and SK Telecom complete the top five.

“We have identified Telefónica as one of the most proactive operators in sustainability. Through our interactions with Telefónica’s sustainability team, we have also found the team to be seriously committed, organised and successful in achieving buy-in to their vision from both the executive leadership team and several business units and opcos,” says STL, on its Website. “This is a highly impressive achievement for such a large operator.”

 

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