MTN Shuts Down 53 Cellphone Masts In South Africa Due To Theft

The continuous theft of cellphone tower batteries has forced the mobile telecommunications giant MTN to shut down 53 of its towers in Gauteng, South Africa.

The company said that it was losing millions because of the theft and vandalism of tower batteries.

MTN’s General Manager of Network Operations, Ernest Paul said that the cost became unsustainable when the damage to infrastructure and towers began to far exceed the cost of repairing and replacing equipment and batteries. 

The rising incidents of the theft of tower batteries caused headaches for cellular companies and major network disruptions for customers. 

Paul said that as many as 89 cell towers across South Africa were currently on hold as they await fixing and replacement batteries. Of the 53 towers that are being shut down, 15 are in Johannesburg, and 39 are in Pretoria.  

According to Paul, it has merely become too expensive to fix towers and bring them back online, adding that MTN had already fixed over 100 sites at a very high cost.

He added that cellular companies could not fight these crimes alone and that a broader initiative had to be driven by communities, police and the private sector to create awareness and put a stop to the thefts and acts of vandalism.


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