Nigeria needs 80,000 base stations for IoT

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

For Nigeria to join the league of countries that will tap from the enormous potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) that rides on 4G and 5G networks, the country will need between 70,000 and 80,000 base transmission stations (BTS), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said yesterday in Abuja.

Its Executive Vice Chairman/CEO Prof Garba Danbatta, who spoke during the sitting of the House Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee investigating the health implications of mounting BTS in residential areas, lamented that the country currently has less than 50,000 BTS.

He said: “3G, 4G going to 5G networks are going to usher this country into smart applications, the IoT or the smart world and cities we are talking about. And of course, because of the additional burden on infrastructure, the present capacity of telecom infrastructure is grossly inadequate to cater for these additional platforms or services we are talking about.

“Therefore, we will need between 70,000 and 80,000 base transceiver masts to be able to provide the effective capacity that’s needed to deploy 4G going to 5G.”

He therefore urged other approving agencies at all levels of government in the country to synergise with the NCC with a view to achieving the target. He noted that the United Kingdom (UK), with a population of almost one third of Nigeria’s already has close to 60,000 masts.

On concerns about health implications to exposure to electromagnetic field, Danbatta said researches so far conducted in the area have not indicated any adverse health concerns.

“With regards to other professional bodies like Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) we don’t have any quarrel with their positions. The only question is when we say exposure to electromagnetic field is hazardous to health, what level are we talking about?  We have to define the level of exposure that is hazardous to human beings.

“Of course if you generate a massive electromagnetic field of unprecedented proportion and put a person inside, there will be medical consequences. But what we are saying is that: provided the limit specified is observed and NCC is there to ensure compliance with that limit, there is no health hazard.  There is a limit of safety below which electromagnetic fields do not cause any harm to health,” he explained.

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