For Nigerians to enjoy superb Internet services, the country needs at least 70,000 to 80,000 telecommunication base transceiver stations (BTS).The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, who made this known at a sitting of the House Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee investigating the health implications of mounting telecommunications masts close to building, yesterday in Abuja, said the country currently has less than 50,000 base stations.
NThe implication of a fewer BTS is that apart from the country not been able to compete with other countries in terms of rolling out services such as 4G, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), among others, subscribers will continue to groan under poor quality of service.
Nigeria currently has over 230 million connected lines with 155 million active.Presenting a document titled: ‘Universal Access: The inevitable bridge for inclusive development’, Jinmi Oluanuiga, a member of the National Broadband Council, at a USPF organised forum in Lagos in 2016, revealed that already, about 14, 222 of the industry towers are owned by IHS, while 1,300 belong to Helios Towers of Nigeria.
Oluanuiga disclosed that while IHS directly owned 4000 towers, MTN, 9,151 and Etisalat, 2,136 (are under IHS control). Airtel has 4,800, which is under American Towers’ supervision, while Globacom controls its own BTS.
Explaining further, Danbatta said: “3G, 4G going to 5G networks are going to usher this country into smart applications, the IoT or the smart world and cities we are talking about. And of course because of the additional burden on infrastructure, the present capacity of telecom infrastructure is grossly inadequate to cater for these additional platforms or services we talk about.”
On concerns about health implications to exposure to electromagnetic field, Danbatta said researches so far conducted in the area have not indicated any adverse health concerns.