Tag: Tower

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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