Last year, a frustrated MyBroadband reader switched off the Telkom cellphone tower on his property after the mobile network failed to pay him for electricity and rental.
Under this arrangement, Telkom reimbursed the owner for the electricity required to run the site and paid him a monthly rental amount.
This tower provided better mobile connectivity for Telkom customers in the area, but the reader switched it off after Telkom did not pay its rent and electricity for a period of months.
This disconnection followed months of non-payment and repeated requests by the property owner.
MyBroadband followed up with the reader this year to find out whether he was being paid by the company and if the tower was active again.
He confirmed that since the publication of MyBroadband’s previous article, Telkom had started paying its bill again.
However, he said the company was not monitoring the electricity usage, resulting in these payments not meeting the cost to run the tower. He added that Telkom has also been regularly late with its lease payments.
Despite this, the tower is back online and is servicing Telkom customers in the reader’s area.
Cell C tower
The reader said he is able to keep the Telkom tower running due to the timely and accurate payments made for the other cellphone tower on his property – owned by Cell C.
According to the reader, Cell C pays him more than double what Telkom pays to rent the same space and reimburse him for similar electricity usage.
Cell C confirmed to MyBroadband that it negotiates lease agreements with property owners to host towers on their premises.
“Cell C negotiates lease agreements with any property owner willing to host a tower,” the operator told MyBroadband.
“There are various ways that Cell C addresses power to a site hosted by a business; including the installation of a submeter or our own City Power connection.”
“In some cases where we are unable to have our own power connection installed, Cell C ensures compliance with City Power processes to connect to the landlord’s power directly,” the operator said.
The compliance with City Power processes to reimburse landlords for power is important to note, as other telecommunications operations such as Vumacam found themselves in trouble for entering into third-party power agreements with Joburg residents.
No response from Telkom
MyBroadband reached out to Telkom regarding its policy towards lease agreements with property owners, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.