Generating energy is still the main cause of climate change. This makes it all the more important to increase energy efficiency in all areas where large amounts of energy are required, e.g., to operate ICT networks, if a company is really concerned about protecting our climate. That's why using energy efficiently is one of Telekom's key goals, not only when planning new networks, but also when optimizing existing ones. In this context, higher performance and less energy consumption go hand-in-hand with reducing our carbon footprint. At the same time, replacing old systems with new ones poses an unusual challenge for Telekom's engineers.
The largest system technology swap in the history of mobile communications at Deutsche Telekom started in 2011. Old 2G/GSM technology is scheduled to be completely upgraded to the latest technology by October 2013. The plan is to upgrade the technology at a total of 12,000 mobile communications sites in Germany and replace more than half of the outdated 2G/GSM systems. We are also planning to reduce the number of controller sites for base stations from 256 to 13 as part of the swap program, which will drastically reduce energy consumption.
We had upgraded 7,176 base stations and put 195 controllers out of service by the end of 2012. This included a variety of activities from switching over all stations to synchronized processes in the fiber-optic network to issuing permits for access to the equipment and swapping the systems at the antenna sites using cranes.
The upgrading program that we began in January 2013 as a subproject of our swap program involved implementation of Ethernet connections for 2G sites, which also was a technologically challenging task and required extensive coordination. We are planning to install Ethernet connections at around 8,000 sites. The single radio access network (Single RAN) technology makes it possible to operating different mobile communications standards in a single switching unit, further reducing the need for hardware and energy consumption.
With these measures, we are laying the foundation for a future-proof technology platform which is not only suitable for LTE expansion, but will also ensure that the same hardware can be used for all mobile communication generations (2G , 3G and 4G/LTE) in the long term. This is expected to reduce future investments as well as operating costs and will also make the 2G network technology IP-compatible.
The high-speed VDSL network is based on fiber-optic cables. Individual network components are bundled in multi-functional cabinets, recognizable as the gray boxes found throughout our cities. In order to further increase the energy efficiency of the systems contained in the cabinets and to minimize performance loss, we initiated the Best Power project in 2011.
The focal point of the pilot project is selecting the most effective network equipment and increasing the energy efficiency of our systems. We plan to reduce our CO2 emissions as well as our operating costs thanks to the reductions in energy consumption which the project is expected to generate. Development of the new network equipment as well as testing and acceptance by our laboratories were completed in 2012.
Reliable results will not be available until after a field test at the end og 2013, because a subproject of Best Power is being conducted in connection with the DESI project.
Telekom Deutschland's Power Off task force analyzes which residual modules can be removed from the network with a reasonable effort and organizes the systematic dismantling of outdated systems. In 2012 we were able to shut down technical systems with an overall wattage of 4.5 MW due to measures implemented by the Power Off task force. The energy savings realized as a result are the equivalent of 17,020 metric tons of CO2 per year.
We also launched the Retire project in 2012 to ensure uninterrupted operations during transition from the old, fixed-line technology to the all-IP network. The project also uses opportunities to reduce energy consumption by shutting down outdated equipment. The Power Off task force will become part of the Retire project in 2013. Retire had already realized additional dismantling potential of 1 MW by the end of 2012. Another 3.67 MW can be achieved in 2013.
By dismantling systems that we no longer need early on, we can considerably reduce energy consumption. Dismantling activities in 2012 resulted in annual savings of around 40 GWh in electrical energy consumption and costs amounting to EUR 11 million for electricity, cooling and uninterrupted power supply for Telekom. In addition, the measures freed up one-time investment resources in areas such as cooling and uninterrupted power supply totaling at around EUR 9 million. These will be used to accelerate the installation of the new networks.