Nigeria: Telcos May Drag FG to Court Over N46 Billion Expenditure


Nigerian telecommunication operators may drag the federal government to court by December 2013 if it fails in its promise to improve public power supply. The operators, who have been bearing the brunt of the poor electricity supply, said that the worrisome situation would cost them N45.9 billion in 2012 for the purchase of diesel to fuel their generators.

Since the advent of GSM in 2001, Nigerian mobile operators have been providing alternative power supply at their base transceiver station (BTS) sites with the deployment of two generators, provision of diesel and security guards to man the facilities. Telephone operators use 25 million litres of diesel monthly to fuel 20,000 generators located at over 15,000 cell sites in the country.

Titi Omo-Ettu, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said, "At a current pump price of N153 per litre of diesel, operators will spend N3.82 billion to fuel their generators monthly and N45.9bn in 2012. Other telecom players will make even more expenditure on alternative power."

Omo-Ettu, who made the threat to go to court, organised a stakeholders' forum on 'Harnessing Communications Technology as a Catalyst for National Development' in Lagos at the weekend and said the current situation whereby operators provide alternative energy to power their operations, build their own base stations and backbone networks "counts towards tariff increase and lowers quality of service (QoS)."

The ATCON boss stated that services were poor across board. He said that a play out of summation of grade of services may be an albatross, noting that tariff can hardly be firm and fair in the face of poor service. "The damage that poor electricity has done deserves that we all mark power reform managers closely."

While appreciating the professional manner in which the NCC has been carrying the industry along, he called for a study to address the problems of the telecom sector, adding that Nigerians want good services, not reasons it is non-existent.