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What happens to your phone signal during Load Shedding?


We’re all familiar with it. The sudden darkness, followed by the eerie lack of technological whirring sounds. Load Shedding not only leaves us in the dark –but often times bored or unproductive, without the use of our mobile phone connectivity.

But what does happen to our phone signal when the power goes out?

When a cell phone tower goes out during a power outage, it will run for as long as it has a backup power supply such as a generator or battery. The strength or stability of your mobile signal often depending on how many cell phone towers there are in your area, and whether or not they have a backup power supply.

For instance, if you’re in an area with fewer towers and one of those bases goes out, this may cause you to have incredibly unreliable cell phone reception and signal. The issue with most cell phone tower generators or batteries, is that they take up to 18-hours to recharge and when the Load Shedding schedule is high, those batteries can’t fully replenish whilst the power is back on.

Unfortunately, many South African base stations are also a target for theft and vandalism. This means the measures put in place to offset the effects of Load Shedding are spoiled.

The theft of batteries and generators at cell phone towers has reached “crisis level” according to MTN CEO, Jacqui O’Sullivan. As such, many South African service providers have taken serious steps to counter these thefts, which not only impact their business, but the connectivity of many South Africans. Additionally, although these network providers are actively seeking ways to mitigate the effects of Load Shedding, the deployment of batteries and generators is a challenging and costly exercise, costing “tens of millions of Rands”.

Another large network service provider, Cell C commented saying, “Additionally, electricity surges when power returns on may mean that equipment at base stations are affected and need to be replaced or rebooted before those sites can be restored."

So, while there is an active effort to lessen the effects of Load Shedding in South Africa, it does seem as though it is an issue, we will have to get comfortable with. Although we may have to adjust to Load Shedding in South Africa, you can still do it using the best mobile deal to suit your needs.