The overall energy challenges of the nation from fifty-four (54) thousand BTS scattered across the country which depend on diesel generators
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta made this remark at The 2023 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) held at the Commission Annex Head Office, Mbora, Abuja on Wednesday March 15th, 2023. The 2023 World Consumer Rights Day with the theme for this year, which is “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition”. The theme is geared towards delivering a smooth transition for consumers experiencing a high cost of living as the globe responds to the ongoing energy crisis caused by supply and climate issues. This theme is very relevant given Nigeria’s recent licensing of the 5G spectrum networks, which consume twice as much energy as 4Gs, although they are more energy-efficient per gigabyte.
With the recent licensing of the Fifth Generation (5G) spectrum, he cited that Nigeria will witness an increased deployment of telecom infrastructure to satisfy the wireless service coverage requirement for 5G services. According to Professor Danbatta, this anticipated growth in the number of 5G coverage will trigger high demand for data services which will result in increased energy consumption for the network infrastructure especially the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G Customer Premise Equipment (CPEs) and mobile devices for example.
NCC, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, during this year, 2023 World Consumer Right Day celebration at Abuja stated that this requires the industry to look for green and sustainable power solutions required for the connectivity of IoT devices and network optimisation.
All over the globe, he pointed out that telecom companies are among the biggest energy users, as a result of the stiff industry competition which causes them to try to satisfy their consumers by providing higher-speed networks. With the rising utility costs, it is critical for companies to reconsider the sustainability of their operations by lowering the operational impact on the environment, he noted.
“This is more so because it has been found that implementing energy efficiency measures could potentially reduce the operating costs of telcos by up to 20%.
“Some of these energy-efficiency measures include the redesign of the Radio Access Networks (RAN) of Base Stations which were initially built to maximise connectivity, not energy efficiency. More than 75% of the time, the radio base station resources remain unused because of the hardware components activated at all times to transmit system information and synchronisation and reference signals. Therefore, to avoid waste heat, some of 5G’s newest RAN is equipped with an energy-saving measure allowing for the automatic switching of components. Some other energy efficiency measures can also include the use of renewable energy sources (hydrogen, wind, solar etc.) to supply the energy needed.
The Commission, as a responsive world-class organization, he said, has been proactive in responding to the realities and challenges posed by the impact of using fossil fuel as a power source in the telecommunications industry. In this regard, the situation in Nigeria is peculiar adding that owing to the overall energy challenges of the nation, the fifty-four (54) thousand BTS scattered across the country depend on diesel generators with the attendant noise and environmental pollution. Some of these BTS operate on diesel generators for 24 hours across seven days of the week in some locations. Therefore, transitioning to a renewable energy source like solar power will significantly reduce the menace of pollution from individually-powered generators, he acknowledged.
“This will be zero carbon emission from the BTS just as noise pollution would be a thing of the past.
As the global community celebrates World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2023, he noted that the Commission is affirming that the theme of this year will form part of the consideration of the Commission’s regulatory mandate. We are committed to responsibly using the world’s resources, including protecting the environment by supporting the industry to transition to renewable energy, he concluded.