The Cost of Telecommunications Evolution in Nigeria

Ebinimi Tebepah


One of the fastest growing segments of the ICT Sector is the Mobile Telecommunications and in the African Market, Nigeria has witnessed phenomenal growth since the full liberalisation of the Telecommunications Sector. Nigeria is now considered to be the leading Mobile Telecommunications Market in Africa in terms of Subscribers’ Base,  Tele density and inflow of Foreign Direct Investment according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which  is the Organisation saddled with the regulatory responsibility of the sector.

However, the rapid growth of Mobile Telecommunications is not without its challenges as the adoption of Mobile Communication Services in Nigeria means the rollout of several Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) operating on diesel fuels because so many parts of the Country lack reliable electricity supply.   The costs associated with this form of power supply as stated in this article are:

  • environmental – it increases the carbon footprints of the industry through the emission of CO2 and adds to the effect of climate change;
  • economic – as the operating expenditure (OPEX) of telecommunications operators increases due to direct and indirect costs in powering the BTS sites; and
  • Security challenges – which mostly involves diesel fuel pilfering and vandalisation of BTS sites.

With the understanding of the effects of the use fossil fuel generators to power BTS sites, it appears to be highly unsustainable if the current gains in the Nigerian telecommunications industry are to be sustained. Hence, it is important to have a comprehensive policy framework that embraces - sustainable renewable energies, as well as hybrid energy systems, enforcement of policy guidelines on security of telecommunications infrastructure, provides different funding options for renewable energies, and supports funding of research into renewable energies. This article attempts to provide an understanding of the effects of fossils fuels usage vis-à-vis telecommunications infrastructure and a roadmap for the regulatory agencies in charge of this Sector in addressing the various challenges.

Keywords: Mobile Telecommunications; Renewable Energy; BTS; Fossil Fuel Power; Policy.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3232 ISSN (Online)2225-0573

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