Operators consider N7.2Bn investment to replace generators
Worried by high cost of maintenance of generators at base stations in the country, occasioned by the notoriously unreliable public power supply; tower operators are eyeing massive investment put at around N7.2billion on solar systems.
Generators have since become main source of power supply for telecommunications services providers in the country as public power supply slip from bad to worse.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that operators have earmarked some 20,000 towers out of 26,000 operational for the upgrade, which will witness installation of solar panel and batteries at each of the towers at the cost of N360,000 per tower.
A breakdown of the cost implication as it is being executed for one of the operators revealed that installation of the solar panel cost between N200, 000 to N350, 000 depending on the capacity of the tower as some tower houses more base stations than others.
More so, the batteries and other accessories cost N70,000 while the solar panel unit for each tower goes for between N40,000 and N50,000.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek had recently reported that the cost incurred in the maintenance of telecommunications towers in the country had risen to $104 million from $80 million every month in the past one year.
A staff of one of the tower operators who does not want his name in print told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that the increase in the cost of maintenance as witness in the past one year could be attributed to increase in the cost of diesel, generator parts and generators which has been affected by foreign exchange issues.
“60 percent of the cost of managing a tower goes to provision of power, such as diesel and maintenance of generators,” he said.
With the adoption of co-location model by telecom operators and sale of towers to tower operators by GSM operators among others, 95 percent of the towers in the country are under the management of tower operators.
Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said: “Power is a challenge for tower operators as cost of diesel is high; today you buy N180 per litre. These costs are not insignificant and affect the business.”