Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted Pan African Towers license to provide infrastructure sharing and collocation services in the country.
The license is valid for 10 years, but can be revoked if the company fails to roll out services in the next year. Pan African Towers is also obliged to pay an annual operating fee.
Following the NCC’s approval, Pan African Towers confirmed plans to target at least 10 African countries including Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia, Guinea and Senegal.
The company is currently 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.
It will charge lease rates on all new build-to-suite sites across Africa at the local currency instead of dollars to address the foreign exchange challenge.
This issue has impacted negatively on the ICT and telecoms sector in Nigeria and said to be one of the main reasons behind the debt crisis at Etisalat Nigeria.
Sohail Haider, director, Pan African Towers, described the NCC’s approval as a welcome development that would meet the growing demand for more competition.
“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,” said Haider.
Prof. Umoru Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC, said while more players are needed to offer collocation services in the country’s telecommunications sector to ensure healthy competition, the high cost of setting up and running the sites had made the sector to be attractive only to few companies, led by IHS Towers and HTN Towers.
Danbatta said with the telecoms sector embracing collocation, it would become easier for the sector to improve quality of services, increase operational efficiency and boost customer experience.
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