South Africa’s telecom firms Vodacom and MTN have warned their subscribers of network problems due to vandalism on their mobile phone towers.
Vandals have been targeting the expensive batteries and diesel fuel used to power the mobile phone network infrastructure during blackouts, the website reports.
South Africa’s ailing power firm Eskom has been carrying out scheduled power cuts as it battles to meet demand. The batteries on phone towers keep mobile phone networks operational during the blackouts.
“On average 553 incidents per month are recorded where sites have been affected by theft or damage. We are also seeing cases where the site has been damaged beyond economical repair,” a Vodacom spokesman told News24, saying the situation was getting worse.
MTN has shut down 53 phone towers because of vandalism, the news site reports.
In 2018, the firm had spent 300m rand ($20m, £15.6m) on batteries and added 1,800 generators to existing sites to cope with the blackouts.