Cellphone tower battery thefts will cost customers and companies millions

29 July 2019 - 11:17
By Yoliswa Sobuwa

Millions of rands would be required to replace stolen batteries at cellphone towers across the country. The towers have been badly affected by the rise of battery theft and vandalism.

MTN had 733 batteries stolen from its sites across the country in April.

It recorded 125 incidents of battery theft last week and 74 the week before.

MTN general manager: network operations Ernest Paul said the battery theft and related vandalism is costing MTN hundreds of millions of rands and the impact on the entire industry is exorbitant.

“There is a high cost to customers and network providers each time a battery is stolen. To replace batteries at 100 sites would cost over R10m. We must avoid the costs of these thefts because if left unchecked the entire communities, individual customers and small businesses alike in affected areas will struggle to access their mobile services,” Paul said.

MTN will provide a monetary reward for information which will help bring the criminals to book.

Paul said potential buyers of the stolen goods should be aware that major mobile operators in SA make use of one brand, Leoch lithium batteries, which are imported and not for sale to the general public.