South Africa’s power outages, vandalism, and theft motivate MTN’s security measures.


The South African unit of MTN Group invested $84 million to ensure the resilience of its mobile network. This is against regular power outages, vandalism, and battery theft.

Due to the failure of its outdated coal facilities, Eskom has implemented the worst rolling blackouts in its history. It is leaving homes and businesses in Africa’s most industrialized economy in the dark for about 10 hours each day.

The telecom industry deploys diesel generators to power its gigantic towers, puts out more batteries. They are enhancing security to protect them from theft and damage, and profit margins are being compressed.

Charles Molapisi, the CEO of MTN South Africa, said that the company’s “network resilience” strategy will help increase network availability.

During load shedding, when theft and vandalism are prevalent, “the investment will see us add solar power, batteries, and generators. It will also upgrade security measures at base stations to ensure higher network availability,” he said.

According to MTN, new batteries will be deployed at 3,253 sites by the end of May. They will significantly improve network availability in the second half of the year.

MTN said that tower companies lost 250% more generators during the longer, continuous hours of power outages last year. Mainly owing to vandalism and theft of batteries or generators from base stations.

Since January 2022, more than a thousand instances of vandalism have been registered in Eastern Cape, it was revealed.

MTN and IHS Tower in London, MTN’s tower site partner, are evaluating solutions such as concrete blocks, concrete bunkers, and high security cabinets to protect these assets.

Technicians at one of the damaged base stations demonstrated to reporters a container from which the cables, AC, and radio transmission processors had been removed. Just the batteries enclosed in concrete remained.


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