…Says Nigeria needs 80,000 towers to migrate to 5G
.,,No going back on demolition exercise – NCC
As Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) sets for the planned demolition of abandoned 693 masts, President of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, has warned that the action will send a wrong signal to likely investors.
ATCON, also, said that Nigeria requires not less than 80,000 towers to assist its migration to fifth-generation cellular technology (5G) from 2G and 4G.
Teniola, who made this known in an exclusive interview with The Daily Times, said the association has always advocated that infrastructure should not be destroyed.
He disclosed that Nigeria currently has about 40,000 towers which presuppose that the country still needs tens of thousands of towers for 5G.
Teniola said the Nigerian government can rehabilitate the towers that belong to defunct companies to provide collocation services. He added that some of them were already been used by active operators, advising that the NCC should negotiate with the operators to jointly maintain the towers.
“Remember we are in an era where we would like to move from 2G to 4G,4G eventually to 5G.In order to achieve migration to 5G, we will require at least 80,000 towers in this country. We currently have about 40,000 towers. So, destroying this number of towers will not serve that purpose.
“Remember if you destroy these towers, these towers will need to be rebuilt. But rebuilt by who? Private investors will not deem it worthy of them to rebuild something that has been destroyed by the government. It sends the wrong signal to likely investors,” he stated.
The ATCON boss bemoaned the culture of destruction in Nigeria, saying destruction is not the attitude of a mature society.
He, however, called for innovative solutions and collaborative discussions with all stakeholders to find a solution instead of bringing down all the 693 masts marked for destruction by the NCC
“Those towers that are beyond repairs or maintenance can be pulled down and rebuilt but not all 693 meet that category. We can’t in this society be thinking destruction first.
We should think about creatively. Our mindset is not really correct. We should think of solutions first. Not destruction,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director of Publicity, NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, told our correspondent that the Commission had exhausted all avenues of resolution before it resolved to demolish the said masts, adding that the owners of a great number of the masts are not even identified.
Nkemadu explained that NCC had before now advertised and put up notices for owners of the masts to claim them to avert its action but to no avail, wondering how the Commission is expected to hold talks with people that have not come and claim what they own.
“If people are not coming to claim them, we have to pull them down”, he said.
He, therefore, reiterated NCC’s commitment to carrying out its regulatory functions for the safety of Nigerians.
The NCC had in a statement last week said, “Failure to maintain these structures over a long period of time has resulted in their technical failure and constant vandalisation with negative consequences on public health and safety.”