Base stations in Nigeria guzzling US$1.1 billion worth of diesel each year

With over 22,000 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) across Nigeria, it costs the country’s telcos an estimated N177.7 billion (about $1.1 billion) on fuel each year, reports the Thisday Live.

The BTS, an equipment that facilitates wireless communication between user equipment and service provider network, on average consumes about eight litres of diesel per hour, at an average retail pump price of N165 (nearly $1.04) per litre, with the generator having to run for an average of 17 hours daily, telecoms operators spend about N22,440 ($142) on maintenance daily.

With nearly 22000 combined heavy-duty generators, each base station site has an installed generator to keep it running, with capacities at each site ranging from 20KV and 25KV with at least one generator in a site.

Each Month, the operators pay about N673,200 ($4,000) to keep a base station up and running which increases the money spent to about N8 million (about $50,000) annually.

If the N8M is multiplied by the 22000 base stations in the country, it sums up to a total of N178 billion ($1.1 billion) annually.

The extreme financial up-rise is said to have been caused by the country’s poor power situation and market demand, since operators need to purchase fuel for base stations to maintain round-the-clock operations for their 102M active subscriber-base.

According to the Thisday Live, operators such as the global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators and their fixed line counterparts had to purchase power generating equipment.

Former President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCONS), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said the increased expenses in the purchasing of diesel is good in terms of tariff increase, but in-turn lowers quality of service.

National President, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, urged that, instead of spending on diesel generating sets and other associated expenses, they could spend it on network investment toward the provision of quality services.

The report however suggests that some companies are moving to hybrid — where the use of diesel-powered generators and solar-powered sources are combined.

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