Over the last decade, mobile communications have been witnessing a noteworthy increase of data traffic demand that is causing an enormous energy consumption in cellular networks. The reduction of their fossil fuel consumption in addition to the huge energy bills paid by mobile operators is considered as the most important challenges for the next-generation cellular networks. Although most of the proposed studies were focusing on individual physical layer power optimizations, there is a growing necessity to meet the green objective of fifth-generation cellular networks while respecting the user's quality of service. This paper investigates four important techniques that could be exploited separately or together in order to enable wireless operators achieve significant economic benefits and environmental savings: 1) the base station sleeping strategy; 2) the optimized energy procurement from the smart grid; 3) the base station energy sharing; and 4) the green networking collaboration between competitive mobile operators. The presented simulation results measure the gain that could be obtained using these techniques compared with that of traditional scenarios. Finally, this paper discusses the issues and challenges related to the implementations of these techniques in real environments. © 2016 IEEE.