Mobile operators face many challenges in South Africa – a lack of spectrum, poor ministerial and regulatory environments, and red tape slowing down their network rollouts.
One of the biggest challenges, however, has nothing to do with government or funding. It is the damage which criminals cause when stealing cables, batteries, and other network equipment.
MyBroadband recently published an article highlighting how criminals are causing massive damage to South African telecoms networks, resulting in downtime for consumers and costing operators millions.
Many of the cases of theft and vandalism involve criminals stealing batteries from mobile containers. These batteries are often stripped, as shown in the following photos.
Cell C battery theft and network damage
Cell C, like Vodacom and MTN, has been a target of battery theft and vandalism targeting its mobile network containers.
Here are some of the cases where criminals broke into containers and caused massive damage, to steal batteries.
Break-in and theft in Bramley Park
Criminals cut the main gate’s padlock with a torch to gain entry to the site, and then broke into the battery safe to steal 8 batteries.
Break-in and theft in Alexandra
The intruders destroyed the locking mechanism, and then wrecked the battery cabinet and an air conditioner to steal 8 batteries.
Break-in and theft in Union settlement
The intruders cut 2 palisade bars to gain entry to the site, and then cut the container wall at the back.
The criminals then broke open the battery safe to steal 16 batteries.
Break-in and theft in Woodlands
The criminals cut 2 palisade bars to gain entry to the mobile site, and then damaged the container’s locking mechanism to get inside. Here, 16 batteries were stolen.
Break-in and theft in Armadale
The intruders cut 2 palisade bars to gain entry to the site, and then broke into the container and stole 16 batteries.