In response to increased levels of load shedding, MTN South Africa has implemented measures to reduce the impact, including the deployment of 20,000 batteries and nearly 900 generators in its network.
The company had previously announced an investment of between R4.5 billion and R5 billion to safeguard its network from the unreliable power supply from Eskom.
MTN South Africa also highlighted that crime and vandalism remain ongoing issues that hinder their ability to provide uninterrupted services. MTN South Africa CEO, Charles Molapisi, explained that despite a temporary decrease in load shedding during the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter, power outages continue to present significant challenges to the company’s operations.
“In the first half of 2022, there were 68 instances of load shedding, but this number has nearly tripled to 181 instances in the same period this year,” he stated.
In addition to the challenges of managing a mobile network in South Africa in 2023, criminals persistently target infrastructure by stealing metals, batteries, and other valuable items from base stations, which can be resold or sold as scrap.
“Criminals highly desire the equipment found at these cellphone towers, such as copper cables, batteries, air conditioners, and generators. Their actions cause significant damage to network infrastructure, resulting in tower malfunctions and disruptions,” Molapisi explained.
“While we have made progress in strengthening our network resilience during load shedding, especially during the more severe stages, criminal activity continues to negatively impact the network experience for our valued customers.”
MTN has recently completed the upgrade of over 5,000 base stations to enhance their ability to withstand load shedding. In the month of August alone, they successfully upgraded 2,000 stations. This significant investment has resulted in a notable 15% increase in network availability.