Telecommunications companies in Nigeria will spend about N45.9 billion in 2012 to fuel generators that power Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) – a critical network infrastructure component required to deliver telecoms services.
Informed analysts in the power sector told BusinessDay that the amount could provide 284.8 megawatts of electricity at $1 million per megawatt, as states like Yobe, Taraba and Akwa Ibom can have 24 hours power supply if they have 284.8 megawatts of electricity each.
This gives credence to a recent CEO Survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers International Limited, which stated that among the major concerns to Nigerian CEOs is energy cost, which rated 93 percent on the scale of their major sources of concerns.
The telecoms operators are threatening to “do something radical” in the next 18 months if the country’s epileptic power situation persists. A source told BusinessDay that tariff hike may be one of the options on the table.
Titi Omo-Ettu, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), spoke weekend at a consultation forum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to obtain requisite industry input as the commission looks to develop a five-year (2013-2017) management plan.
Omo-Ettu, who addressed a broad section of industry stakeholders, said operators use 25 million litres of diesel monthly to fuel 20, 000 generators located at over 15, 000 cell sites across Nigeria.
“This invariably means telecoms companies will spend N45.9 billion in 2012 to fuel generators, given that a litre of diesel is sold at N153. If in the next 18 months nothing is done about this, we might do something radical,” he said.
He said telecoms services were poor across board, adding that power supply contributes significantly in lowering quality of service levels in the industry. In the same vein, Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria (ALTON), called on government to eliminate some of the bottlenecks hindering deployment of telecoms infrastructure.
Issues revolving around multiple taxes, right-of-way licences, according to him must be swiftly addressed in order to assist operators roll out networks timely to meet the growing demands of subscribers.
According to him, Nigeria requires 60, 000 base stations to meet QoS thresholds. “There are currently a little over 20, 000 base station sites in Nigeria serving a population of over 150 million people by the end of year 2011. In comparism, there were approximately 55, 000 base station sites in the UK at the end of 2011 serving a population of just 60 million people,” Adebayo disclosed.
On the other hand, the NCC disclosed that it had adopted some definite measures to address the issue of QoS. Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman, NCC, said the commission had engaged the services of seven Driven Test Contractors to carry out quality of service testing in the six geo-political zones and Lagos.
“They will commence fully by April. It is expected to lead to comprehensive and across-the-country quality of service monitoring. In addition, our Monitoring and Enforcement Personnel have been very busy lately, either shutting down the activities of illegal users of spectrum or engaging importers of handsets that are not type-approved. We will not permit professional banditry in the industry as we are fully empowered by the Communications Act to deal with issues of compliance and standard,” he stated.