A frustrated property owner switched off the Telkom cellphone tower on his property after the mobile network failed to pay him for electricity and rental.
The property is a commercial building in Glenhazel, Johannesburg. Telkom previously reached an agreement with the owner to mount a base station on the building, allowing it to provide improved coverage in the area.
Under this arrangement, Telkom would reimburse the owner for the electricity required to run the site and pay him a monthly rental amount.
The owner of the property told MyBroadband that initially, Telkom paid all of its bills on time and he received the amount he had been promised on a monthly basis.
The tower provided better mobile connectivity for Telkom customers in the area, and all parties were satisfied. This did not last for long, however.
No payment or response
A few months ago, the owner said he began receiving sporadic and insufficient payments from Telkom for the tower lease agreement.
He said that Telkom occasionally paid him far less than it was supposed to according to the agreement. Other months, he was simply not paid at all.
He began to mail and call Telkom on a regular basis in an attempt to find out why the company would not pay him for site rental or electricity.
Despite repeated emails and other attempts at communication, the owner said he did not receive any response from Telkom.
He subsequently sent an email to Telkom warning the company that if he did not receive payment by a certain date, he would switch off the tower on his premises.
The deadline came and went, and during the second week of October, the owner turned off the power supply to the Telkom tower, rendering it offline.
This resulted in reduced coverage for local residents who were Telkom mobile or fixed-LTE customers.
At the time of writing, the Telkom tower is still turned off, as the mobile network has not paid the property owner the outstanding amount for the arrangement.
No response from Telkom
MyBroadband reached out to Telkom for comment on this topic, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.