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Tower owners frustrating service quality of ISPs using power, crazy rents, others

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Chief operating officer of Direct On Data, Satis Kumar has disclosed that the major challenges of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country remains the poor services provided by tower operators.

In an interview, he said “Most times our base stations go down apparently because the attendant is not around to put on the generator when public power supply goes off, sometimes there are diesel issues. Some of our clients are providing critical services that don’t need their internet to go down even for a second. How do you explain this situation?”

According to him, ISPs are saddled with harsh business condition, which include high base station rentage, inefficiency of tower management that have forced them into deploying batteries at their base stations to ensure improved service quality among other challenges.

Further analysis presented by Direct On Data boss showed that ISPs are charged between N3.6million to N4million per tower for a year, explaining that this cost depends on the type of the equipment being hang on the tower as some equipment consume more power than others and some take space more than others.

Corroborating Kumar, Chief executive officer of Spectranet, a 4G LTE internet service provider, David Venn said “before now, their biggest cost outlay was cost of national and international bandwidth, but today the cost of bandwidth is coming down which leaves cost of tower rental our biggest cost of operation”.

“Though the cost of tower rental in Nigeria is high compared to other countries I have worked, considering operational cost in this environment in terms of maintenance of the towers, it is reasonable. But in Zambia where there is also power challenge, there is no need for operators to provide security at towers as security challenge is not serious.

Looking at the matter objectively, Lanre Ajayi, immediate past president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), identified two factors as responsible for high cost of tower rental in the country, which are competition and service cost.

He said competition in the co-location business is not deep enough to bring about reduced cost and efficient

But arguing for tower operators, president, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Sunday Folayan, said tower rental cost in the country will not be cheap as it is determined by some factors including but not limited to number of users on the tower as well as power and security provided at the towers.


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