Towers Operators Spend N175m Daily to Power BTS

Telecom InfrastructureTelecommunications tower operators spend some N175 million every day on diesel which is used to power generators at their towers housing base transceiver stations (BTS) that make it possible for Nigerians to use GSM service to make and receive calls.

Telecom towers house base stations that Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and 4G internet service providers use to deliver services to their customers.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that a co-located tower which houses 3 to 5 base stations use 20KVA generator to supply power while a tower that houses a single base station uses 15KVA generator. More so, each generator consumes 50 litres of diesel per day especially in recent years when public power system is highly erratic.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that presently, towers run on generator in an average of 20 hours a day. This means that 25,000 of towers in the country that use generators consume some 1.25million litres of diesel a day.

It was learnt that this quantity of diesel consume by generators at different towers cost tower operators about N175million at diesel pump price of N140 per litre.

Reacting to this, Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said: “In Nigeria, power is a challenge for tower operators, as cost of diesel is high; today you buy N140 per litre tomorrow you buy it for N150. These costs are not insignificant and affect the business”.

He added that though there is little improvement in the supply of power by Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in some areas in the country, it is too early to ascertain its impact on the service quality as well as reduction of cost for the tower operators.

“Power issues contribute significant percentage of quality of service challenge as we witness today. If we get it right in the public power supply system, we would have addressed a major cause of poor service quality in the country,” he noted.

He stated that, the present system of handing over towers to tower operators will create more jobs as it encourages springing up of supportive players in the industry.

Lanre Ajayi, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), identified service cost in the management of power supply as responsible for high cost of managing towers in the country.

According to him, ‘the high cost of tower management is occasioned by service cost provided at the towers such as power and security. “Most towers are powered by generators and the cost of gas is high, they provide security at the towers. These are outside the control of co-location operators,” he said.


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