Whilst Ghana has solved her “Dumsor” giving MTN Ghana the capacity to stay connected, the situation is very dire in South Africa. In the midst of the worsening power crisis in South Africa, MTN South Africa is desperately looking for power generators to keep its clients connected.
The African Telecom giant in South Africa is seeking any companies that own generators to apply to be potential suppliers to MTN. They are looking to cooperate, regardless of whether the company has two or 20 generators, the company says.
The daily rolling blackouts that South Africa currently experiences are the result of years of poor planning, mismanagement, and corruption on the part of the country’s energy company, Eskom. At the same time, the cost of living for South Africans is rising, including the cost of power. These have been exacerbated by the current world trends of COVID-19 aftershock and the Russia-Ukraine war.
With a vigorous rollout of batteries, generators, and backup power sources across its facilities, MTN South Africa claims it is working “around the clock” to ensure that its clients stay connected.
As load shedding increases nationwide and South Africa’s power crisis worsens, the telco is also contacting small businesses to develop a supply of generators for its operations.
According to Charles Molapisi, CEO of MTN South Africa, maintaining connectivity for its clients is a top priority for MTN, and to that end, the business is looking into workable and creative solutions to the power problem.
There is no doubt that the nation is experiencing a power crisis, but Molapisi from MTN says the company wants to use the problem as a chance for small companies by “crowd-sourcing” generators to assist our network even more.
Increased load shedding, according to MTN SA’s Chief Technology and Information Officer Michele Gamberini, presents difficulties for battery recharging.
“Even though we have hundreds of batteries at our sites all throughout the country, once we pass stage 4 load shedding, the efficacy of those batteries drastically decreases.”
According to Gamberini, MTN has already changed its battery backup systems on more than 80% of the sites this year and is presently deploying more new batteries. MTN’s ongoing issue, though, is that the current outage schedule doesn’t give batteries enough time to charge.
Battery backup systems typically require 12 to 18 hours to recharge, whereas batteries, depending on the type of site, have a capacity of 6 to 12 hours. Therefore, frequent outages have an immediate effect on battery performance, whereas frequent battery theft necessitates the installation of replacements, according to Gamberini.
To mitigate the effects of stage 4 (and higher) load shedding, MTN has additionally installed approximately 2000 generators in addition to the battery rollout.
Currently, MTN uses more than 400,000 liters of gasoline each month to maintain these generators.
MTN South Africa power outages plan
In each province, MTN South Africa has prepared for power outages. Here are a few of these interventions:
- The creation of “war rooms” in each region, each with a dedicated staff and network partners, with the goal of reestablishing important transmission infrastructure and base stations in the event of severe load-shedding.
- The provision of fuel to all facilities that are necessary to ensure the continued operation of all MTN South Africa data centers. MTN does not expect any facility interruptions.
- Field maintenance teams were withdrawn to make room for their redeployment to concentrate on on-site restorations.
- the deployment of extra emergency generators as well as the optimization of the current MTN South Africa mobile generator fleet.
“Despite the challenges, we have started a number of emergency steps to guarantee stronger network resilience in order to reduce the risks. In this difficult period, we want to reassure our clients that we are doing everything in our power to keep connectivity,” says Gamberini.
According to Molapisi, MTN South Africa is addressing the load shedding situation with a solution-oriented, optimistic mindset, which he claims “…is the characteristic of so many South Africans,” as a corporation formed out of South Africa’s democracy.
“We believe that by collaborating with companies of different sizes and reach, we can both promote local businesses while also preserving our best network for all our clients,” Molapisi says. “We need joint efforts to get us through this crisis.
Businesses interested in partnering with MTN to supply generators are encouraged to reach out to them at [email protected].