Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

PAT working to acquire 850 towers, plans 1,500 build-to-suite sites by 2019

Tower merchants, Pan African Towers (PAT), has rolled out development plans to capture the market following the recent license it secured from the regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Key in the functions of PAT includes provision of telecoms infrastructure sharing and collocation facilities across the nation.

Before the coming on stream of PAT, the high cost of setting up and running the sites had made the sector to be attractive only to few companies including the IHS Towers and HTN Towers.

A top official of the NCC, who confirmed the licence in a telephone interview, said the license is valid for 10 years, and can be revoked if the company fails to roll out services before the end of 2018.

Besides, the official disclosed that PAT is also obliged to pay an annual operating fee as part of service charge.

However, Pat has given indication that it is closing in on at least 10 African countries including Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia, Guinea and Senegal for similar licence so as to deepen continental control of the tower market.

Accordingly, it is negotiating to acquire about 850 towers in Nigeria from local tower companies and plans to add 1,500 strategically located build-to-suite sites by 2019.

The company plans to enter the market with quality service laced with lease rates on all new build-to-suite sites across Africa at the local currency instead of dollars to address the foreign exchange challenge.

Business Hilights recalls that issues surrounding paying for tower services in dollars also had a hand in growing Etisalat Nigeria’s debt crisis.

In an interview with a director at PAT, Mr. Sohail Haider, he said “PAT is well positioned to achieve that goal. According to recent reports from NCC, Nigeria needs about 80,000 base stations to achieve the smart Nigeria initiative, using 4G/5G technology, but currently has much less than 50,000 base stations”.