MTN is working around the clock to maintain network stability as power outages, battery theft and vandalism pose ongoing risks.
It said on Friday work operators were fighting hard to maintain network stability in the face of the multiple threats posed by high levels of load shedding, battery theft and the continuous vandalism of network infrastructure.
Ernest Paul, MTN SA General Manager: Network Operations, said “Although the vandals and thieves have a direct impact on network availability and stability, load shedding and load reduction, which has increased over the past five years, has emerged as the biggest contributor to our challenges.”
The power outages also continued to play into the hands of criminals and criminal syndicates, as they found it easier to access the infrastructure under the cover of darkness, the company warned.
Paul said new rounds of load shedding place network availability under increased strain as the battery back-up system generally took 12-18 hours to recharge, while batteries generally had a capacity of six-12 hours, depending on the site category.
“Constant outages have a direct impact on the performance of the batteries, while theft of the batteries themselves means replacements need to be installed,” he said. “Battery autonomy therefore remains one of the biggest pillars of resilience, followed by the infrastructure security to protect the batteries and other equipment that form part of our network infrastructure,” he said.
The latest data shows that the total number of incidents of theft and vandalism of MTN infrastructure amounted to 378 in May, up from 312 in April.
“Network coverage is lost if we do not have batteries, and because cases of vandalism, cable theft and diesel theft remain high, we cannot let our guard down at all. We call on the public to remain vigilant and join us in the fight by reporting all suspicious activity,” said Paul.