Tag: Tower

TOWER reaches Amazon UK’s digital shelves

In May 2021, leading South African self-adhesive products brand TOWER launched their range on the proverbial shelves of online retailer giant, Amazon.

This move will give TOWER a boost as well as inspire fellow South African brands to brave the international online shopping space, especially within the United Kingdom.

Despite its small size geographically, the United Kingdom is a big e-commerce player, with annual online sales at $99 billion, a 14.5% share of the global e-commerce market.

TOWER’s main purpose for expanding their online presence and selling on Amazon is to grow the reach of the brand. CEO of TOWER, Stephen Beattie, comments: “We’ve established ourselves to be a strong brand with solid values and an unwavering commitment to quality products. We are now looking to the future to scale up the business internationally.”

Beattie explains that, “TOWER is an international company that happens to be headquartered in Cape Town. We want to honour our roots and leverage our international ties to share the benefits of our products in every office, school and home worldwide.”

What stands out about Amazon to TOWER, however, is not just their impressive distribution channels, but their dedication to the consumer experience. Partnering with a company like Amazon is a good fit for TOWER who is a consumer centric business that champions the stories and experiences of business professionals, teachers and parents.

TOWER’s focus on the consumer drives their product development and TOWER understands the needs of parents and teachers who guide and encourage the developing minds and confidence of children.

TOWER has chosen the 30 best-selling range of school labels and stickers to sell on Amazon, which focus on encouragement and rewards. Acknowledgment of a job well done, or the encouragement to keep trying, are important affirmations to provide children when they are learning, and TOWER hopes they can spread joy and positivity to children and inspire other South African businesses to reach for success beyond the borders of South Africa.

 

Leading office stationery supplier TOWER acquired local business Sandart on 1 April 2021 in a strategic move to diversify their home product portfolio and take a local niche product to all four corners of the globe.

“TOWER is a proudly South African manufacturer, passionate about creating jobs, growing the South African economy, and making a positive impact on the community,” says TOWER CEO Stephen Beattie.

Together, TOWER and Sandart are on a mission to prove that a quality strong South African brand can compete internationally and become a global leader in its industry. “We are focused on creating products that meet consumers changing needs. With its focus on high quality products and dedication to fun and creativity, Sandart brings a fresh arm to the TOWER collection and TOWER is excited to have the opportunity to develop and nurture a business of Sandart’s calibre,” says Beattie.

Beattie explains how TOWER plans to leverage their strong network to position the Sandart brand name as a leading product in the evolving niche children’s entertainment market: “We hope to take the Sandart story to more consumers around the world through expanding the brand’s main current channel of independent distributors which promote the products at craft markets and kids parties, throughout Southern Africa and in the UK, Dubai and some European and South American countries, as well as distribute the brand alongside TOWER through retailers, a new channel for the brand, both locally and abroad.”

The opportunity to take the brand internationally has never been more pertinent. With the constant threat of lockdowns still hovering over many homes and schools across the world, Sandart is the ideal product to keep children entertained in a fun and educational way, especially when restricted to their homes.

Established in George in 2002, Sandart is an authentic product created from scratch as a family run business. The founders successfully launched several dynamic sticky art designs in their first year and have continued to grow the product since. “We are extremely excited about this partnership. It will only be positive for all of us with immense opportunities and new product offerings in future,” says Sandart MD Henry Joubert.

TOWER hopes that their partnership with Sandart will position leading locally crafted South African products as global competitors in the minds of international consumers and educational institutions alike.

By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband 

Vodacom customers in the Free State farming town of Frankfort were left without cellular connectivity for several days after the operator’s tower in the area was turned off.

A resident of the neighbouring town of Reitz contacted MyBroadband claiming that agriculture company VKB (Vrystaatse Koöperasie Beperk) switched the tower off on Monday 30 November because Vodacom had failed to pay for its electricity usage for over two years.

“The tower was on one of VKB grain silos and they warned Vodacom about it,” the resident said.

He stated that the community of Frankfort was furious about the situation.

MTN previously told MyBroadband that operators would typically enter into a ground rental lease agreement with a private property owner – like VKB – in the event that a network coverage or capacity gap is identified.

The rental fee would be related to space usage and electricity consumption, and is market-related and aligned to a willing landlord-tenant lease agreement.

Vodacom responds
Vodacom confirmed to MyBroadband that the tower was switched off due to a dispute with the landlord, although it did not elaborate on the nature of the issue.

The matter had since been resolved and the site was back online, with connectivity restored in the area as of the morning of Wednesday 2 December.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused,” Vodacom said.

VKB told MyBroadband that the dispute had been resolved in an amicable manner.

“We don’t deem it necessary to further labour the incident in the public domain,” the company said.

Telkom tower
This is not the first known instance of a landlord who switched off a mobile tower after a payment dispute.

A MyBroadband reader has previously twice switched off the Telkom cellphone tower on his property after the mobile network repeatedly failed to pay him for the electricity to run the infrastructure.

Telkom signed a 10-year lease with the owner of a commercial building in Glenhazel, Johannesburg, to erect a cellphone base station on the building, providing mobile coverage to Telkom customers in the surrounding area.

According to the owner, the agreement stated that Telkom would pay a monthly rental amount for its cellphone tower, as well as reimburse the owner for the electricity required to run the hardware.

The landlord also had a Cell C tower on his property, for which he said he is always compensated on time according to the terms of that lease agreement, which includes payment for the correct electricity consumption.

 

Unpaid provider turns off Telkom tower

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

A MyBroadband reader has switched off the Telkom cellphone tower on his property after the mobile network failed to pay him for the electricity to run the infrastructure.

The property in question is a commercial building in Glenhazel, Johannesburg.

Telkom signed a 10-year lease with the owner to erect a cellphone base station on the building, providing mobile coverage to Telkom customers in the surrounding area.

According to the owner, the agreement stated that Telkom would pay a monthly rental amount for its cellphone tower, as well as reimburse the owner for the electricity required to run the hardware.

However, Telkom has reportedly not paid the correct amounts for the electricity required to run the cellphone tower since the beginning of the COVID-19 national lockdown, the owner told MyBroadband.

This is not the first time this has occurred. The same property owner was previously compelled to switch off the Telkom tower last year after Telkom reportedly failed to pay him for either the property rental or the electricity.

Telkom subsequently began paying him again, although this only lasted for a few months before he began to experience the same issue as before.

Switching off the power
The property owner said he switched off the tower as a last resort, as he had made many attempts to contact Telkom regarding the problem with its electricity payments.

He sent multiple emails to Telkom and attempted to contact representatives about his lease agreement and Telkom’s purported failure to cover his electricity cost as stipulated.

There was no reply from Telkom, however, and no resolution was reached.

The company did state that it would send somebody to inspect the electricity meter and confirm the correct monthly electricity amount to compensate the owner, but this was never realised.

The cellphone tower on the property was, therefore, turned off by the owner on the morning of 5 October 2020, which immediately caused reduced LTE connectivity for Telkom customers in the area.

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.

The property owner also has a Cell C tower on his property, for which he said he is always compensated on time according to the terms of that lease agreement, and for which he is also compensated for the correct electricity consumption.

Third-party power agreements
Instances of third-party power agreements such as the type described above can cause problems, as experienced by Vumacam last year.

In that case, City Power accused Vumacam of illegal electricity connections, as it was entering into agreements with residents of the areas where its poles were erected to power its hardware.

Regulations may differ for the type of tower rental agreement described above, however, where a base station is located on a commercial property and the electricity compensation is outlined in the lease agreement.

Cell C previously told MyBroadband that the tower it has placed on this person’s property is in compliance with all relevant legislation, as is each of its other towers.

“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.

Telkom did not respond to a request for comment sent by MyBroadband.

 

The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has gazetted a new policy on the deployment of communications networks in South Africa, according to a recent MyBroadband article.

  • The policy aims to promote the accelerated deployment of electronic communications networks
  • Mobile networks and other licensees the right to select, enter, and use public or private land for the deployment of their network infrastructure
  • Any infrastructure built on private land would belong to the network which built it
  • Property owners are liable for damage to these facilities
  • This also applies to the proposed wholesale open-access network (WOAN)

MyBroadband states that licensees must provide the property owner with a notice that includes the following information:

  • The reasons for engaging in the activity
  • The date of commencement of such activity
  • The objection process to its plans
  • The planned location of the installation
  • Environmental, water, health, and safety information
  • Additionally, owners may not charge companies for building infrastructure on their property, except under certain conditions.

This policy is currently open to written comments from interested parties, and will be until 30 working days after the date of publication.

Comments can be sent to the contacts below:

By Natasha Odendaal for Creamer Media’s Engineering News 

Telecommunications giant Vodacom has started engaging communities to intensify security around its base stations to guard against vandalism and battery theft.

Community members will be recruited, trained and accredited – working with police – serving as “monitoring personnel” under a new model to secure its sites.

“Incidents of base station vandalism have significantly gotten worse over the last few years,” said Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub, noting that the crime is being perpetuated by organised syndicates that always find new ways to commit this type of crime.

“Our security teams on the ground have observed that quite often syndicates target base stations in far-flung and secluded areas because they know it will take police a long time to react. Hence, our sites in remote areas are repeatedly hit,” said Vodacom Group chief risk officer Johan Van Graan.

Theft and vandalism, and its subsequent damage, is costing network providers hundreds of millions of rands worth of damage every year.

Vodacom reported a 35% increase year-on-year in the number of battery thefts at its base stations, with an average of 600 incidents a month of sites impacted by theft or damage.

“We are losing between R120-million and R130-million to vandalism and theft each year. Nonetheless, we are not sitting on our laurels and are fighting back by coming up with innovative measures to stem the tide of battery theft,” Joosub assured.

Vodacom is testing a new model to secure its sites by forging partnerships with members of the community.

“As part of this new model, we recruit local people to serve as monitoring personnel to be our eyes and ears on the ground and provide us critical information police can use to effect arrests,” Van Graan said.

Locals will be trained and accredited, and linked with the local policing community forum and local South African Police Services to provide support when arrests must happen.

“In all the provinces where this model is currently being tested, it has yielded positive results,” he said, citing a substantial reduction in break-ins at at-risk sites owing to the enlistment of local people to secure its sites.

“This demonstrates that the number-one line of defence against site vandalism is the local community and vigilant community members who report incidents of battery theft or site vandalism to police,” he added.

Each theft incident can result in the network in that area being down for days, and can severely impact businesses, as well as anyone relying on the Internet to study and remain in contact with friends and family.

Vodacom plans to spend R1-billion in the current financial year to ensure its network is able to cope with widespread electricity blackouts, which will include intensified security around the telco’s base station sites and the installation of additional batteries and generators to ensure connectivity during load-shedding.

Pyrotechnical Marketing (Pty) Ltd (Pyrotec), which includes TOWER, PackMedia and PackMark, has been operating as one company for the past 50 years. In the last two years, the PackVerifi, Pyrotec Finance and PackLink brands have been added to the company’s service offering.

‘These new brands relate to PackMark and PackMedia, both servicing industrial sectors. However, TOWER, which incorporates office and hardware products, kid’s and signage ranges and MyTowerLabels, serves completely different industries – retail and commercial customers,” says Rowan Beattie, Pyrotec’s MD.

“As markets and customers continually evolve, and their requirements become more demanding and specialised, we have decided to separate TOWER from the Pyrotec brands to enable each company to focus on its strengths and continue to grow within its markets,” Rowan adds.

TOWER will move to new facilities with ownership and leadership in the hands of Stephen Beattie, Managing Director and his current team.

As southern Africa’s largest business stationery and home label supplier, the TOWER brand is dedicated to supplying self-adhesive labels that make your life easier. “We pride ourselves on delivering the broadest range of high-quality products to meet consumers’ needs,” says Stephen.

Products include general stationery labels that help consumers to identify items, provide important information, and assist with office and home organisation. TOWER also supplies A4 printable products and accessories that boast the most technologically-advanced inkjet-laser labels – the only African label brand to feature templates on Microsoft software – and a range of superior-quality photo paper. Other ranges include hardware products and signage for business and home environments, and MyTowerLabels’ simple, reliable labelling solutions for school stationery, uniforms and clothing items. ‘Our labels are tried and tested to mark and protect our customers’ valuables,’ Stephen explains.

The TOWER kid’s range of products encourages children to engage in educational activity-based fun while developing new creative skills. The products focus on building fine motor skills, encourage sensory play and promote problem solving skills.

Products include an extensive activity based Arts ’n Crafts range, the Little Genius range that engages children’s curiosity for exploration and discovery, Splash ’n Learn bath activities, and the Reward Sticker range that focuses on building self-esteem in the classroom environment.

For the Pyrotec brands – PackMedia, PackMark, PackVerifi, Pyrotec Finance and PackLink – it’s business as usual with Timothy Beattie as General Manager of PackMedia and Brandon Pearce General Manager of PackMark and their relevant teams. Rowan continues to be involved with the day-to-day activities of Pyrotec with his experience going back over 50 years. Pyrotec is renowned for its innovative production focus and long-standing relationships with customers and suppliers.

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