The Vodacom Group is set to spend another ZAR 500 million on batteries because of continuous power cuts, ITWeb reported. CEO Shameel Joosub has decried the frequency of load-shedding by power utility Eskom, saying the power cuts have become a “big issue” for the telecoms industry, as it affects the quality of service. Joosub’s concern follows Eskom’s implementation of an unprecedented frequent load-shedding programme in recent months.
Eskom has been struggling to maintain a steady power supply because of issues including aging infrastructure and other legacy problems. Mobile operators have been significantly hit by increasing operational costs associated with keeping base stations alive and protected. Joosub said the network is supposed to run on power, with batteries to back up the site. If there are increased levels of load-shedding, then the batteries do not have enough time to recharge, he added.
The operator has recently deployed solar-powered sites and there are now 1,088 solar sites in all of Vodacom’s markets.
Joosub also raised concerns about the slow pace of allocating spectrum and digital migration.