Telcos Spend N540b Yearly To Power Base Stations – ALTON | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Telcos Spend N540b Yearly To Power Base Stations – ALTON

Posted: Sep 15, 2015 at 12:49 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

By Emmanuel Okwuke


It is no longer news that telecommunications companies in Nigeria have continued to groan under the weight of infrastructure deficit, the biggest of which is power supply.

What is rather news is that the operators spent an estimated N175 million daily or N45 billion monthly in 2014 on diesel for powering their Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) nationwide.

According to the Executive Secretary, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbolahan Awonuga, the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and 4G Internet service providers, have remained the largest consumers of diesel in Nigeria.

This meant that a total of N540 billion was spent by the operators to power diesel generating sets in the year, a figure that might have increased this year, going by the expansion of base stations across the country and the fluctuation in the price of diesel.

The operators in the sector have always relied on generating sets in an industry that does not tolerate recurrent downtimes.

In an exclusive chat with Daily Independent, Awonuga noted that the decision by the telecom operators to outsource most of the sites to telecommunications tower operators has not significantly reduced the cost of managing the sites. This, he noted, was because the cost of managing the sites were passed to the service providers.

A daily report by FBN Capital Limited last week noted the impact of the poor power situation, recalling the revelation at a recent seminar that one of the leading telecoms spent N30 billion on diesel alone in 2014.

“With these funds, it could have built 5,000 base transceiver stations,” FBN noted in the report, adding that an expansion in the sector would feed into growth in other sectors of the economy.

Telecom Towers’ house base stations are used to deliver services to their customers and have been sold recently by the major GSM operators – MTN, Etisalat and Airtel to reduce the burden of maintenance.


As part of efforts to reduce operating costs, telecom operators co-locate their towers which house three to five base stations that are then powered by a 20KVA generator, instead of using a 15KVA generating set for a tower that houses a single base station. Each generator, according to industry sources, consumes 50 litres of diesel daily, running on generator at an average of 20 hours a day.

This means that 25,000 of towers across the country consume above 1.25 million litres of diesel daily.

Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, noted recently that it cost $3,500 to manage a tower housing three to five base stations while a tower housing a single base station cost $2,750 monthly.

Provision of diesel and maintenance of generators, he said, consumes 60 per cent of the cost of managing a tower, adding that the development in the management of towers is a testimony that the country’s telecoms industry is responding to the dynamics of global economic trends, which makes operators more efficient because they focus on the core competence of service delivery.

“In Nigeria, tower operators are faced with problems of approval cost, multiple regulations, multiple taxations and maintenance cost. Power is a challenge 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 said.

Comments (1)

  • Sep 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm Ikechukwu Kalu

    Off Grid Renewable Energy Is the Answer !!!

Comments are closed.