NCC puts sector’s base stations, colocation infrastructure at 52,160
Operators deploy 84,850.7km fibre optics
About 52,160 base transceiver stations (BTS) and and collocation towers have been deployed in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector since the revolution started over a decade ago.
Out of this, as at December, 2018 the total base stations owned by mobile telecoms operating companies increased to 30,637 from 30,598 in December, 2017 across all states of the federation representing an increase of 6.02 per cent from the previous year.
As at December, 2018 MTN owned the highest number of base stations standing at 14,715 base stations; with others owning Airtel- 7,966; Glo -7,244; Ntel -562; EMTS (9Mobile)- 148 and Smile- two base stations.
In terms of geographical spread of this major telecoms infrastructure, the 2018 Subscriber/Network Data Report, compiled by NCC, showed that top five states with highest number of base stations are Lagos- 4,764; Ogun- 1,931; Rivers- 1,676; FCT- 1,684 and Oyo-1,303; while the states with the least number of base stations are: Yobe-205; Zamfara-223; Gombe 286; Jigawa- 289; and Kebbi- 298.
However, in terms of BTS specifically for mobile services, the top five states with highest number of base stations are Lagos- 4,734; Ogun- 1,931; FCT- 1,675; Rivers- 1,671; and Oyo- 1,300 while the states with the least number of base stations are: Yobe-205; Zamfara- 223; Jigawa- 289; Kebbi- 298 and Sokoto-308.
The number of existing base stations in the country, according to NCC invariably affects the quality of service (QOS) within the country thereby positively impacting the level of telephone penetration within the nation, which equates to attracting foreign investment and growth in the telecoms industry.
NCC informed that infrastructure deployment in the mobile segment includes all authorised operating telecommunications network provider authorised to design, deploy, provide, and operate their telecoms network infrastructure in issued public/private properties as contained in their respective license document within the country.
Meanwhile, the operators have equally deployed other types of infrastructure, including microwave, which stood at 334,314km with 151 Gateways in use by the industry. Fiber optics deployment stood at 84,580.7km (73,157.7 terrestrial fiber and 11,423km submarine cable).
Further analysis showed that as at December, 2018, on-land fiber optics in km was deployed as follows; MTN –13,727km; Glo- 13,255km; Airtel – 8,558km; EMTS (PMobile) – 4,650km and Ntel-180km. In this segment, a total of 40,370.3km of on-land fiber optics was deployed reflecting a decrease from 51,305km deployed reported for 2017.
As at December, 2018, submarine fiber optics in km was deployed by four mobile operators as follows: MTN-1,500km; Glo- 9,800km; Airtel – 14km and Ntel- 70km with a total of 11,390km.
A further analysis of the fibre optics deployed illustrated that of the 51,760.3km deployed as at December, 2018; 40,370.3km was on-land while 11,390km was submarine. MTN had the largest on-land with 13,727km deployed while GLO had the largest submarine of 9,800km as at December, 2018.
In terms of investment in Microwave Radio in (km), the mobile operators had deployed a total of 334,314km of microwave radio links. This indicates a growth from 304,070.93km of microwave radio reported for 2017.
A further analysis of the microwave radio in km deployed illustrated that of the 334,314km links deployed as at December, 2018; MTN-137,565.89km; Glo had 72,128km; Airtel- 68,169km; EMTS – 48,958km; Ntel- 4,545km and 2,948km.
NCC disclosed that MTN, Airtel and EMTS had a total of 720,071Trunks (E1) in use as at December, 2018 indicating a decline from 908,296 Trunks (E1) reported as at December 2017. In summary, MTN had 391; Airtel had 713,443 and EMTS had 6,237 Trunks (E1) in use as at December, 2018.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is need of at least 70,000 to 80,000 telecommunication base stations to actualise her dream of joining the club of countries working toward making Internet of Things (IoT) a reality by leveraging 4G and 5g networks.
In one of his interactions with journalists in Lagos, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said the country currently has less than 50,000 base stations.
“3G, 4G going to 5G networks are going to usher this country into smart applications, the Internet of Things or the smart world and cities we are talking about. And of course because of the additional burden on infrastructure, the present capacity of telecom infrastructure is grossly inadequate to cater for these additional platforms or services we talk about’
“Therefore we will need from 70,000 to 80,000 base transceiver masts to be able to provide the effective capacity that’s needed to deploy 4G going to 5G,” he said.