Hundreds of security guards are now guarding South African cellphone towers from criminals

MTN has deployed security guards to cellphone towers across the country, as it continues to lose millions of rands to theft and vandalism.

In response to emailed questions from BusinessTech, MTN said that security officer deployments vary from day to day based on repair times.

It said that these deployments range from 3 days to over 30 days depending on the amount of damaged caused by the criminals.

“On average a compliment of over 150 security officers are deployed nationally per shift,” MTN said.

“These deployments excluded our tactical security interventions, we’re unable to provide figures due to confidentiality on deployments.”

On Monday (29 July), MTN said that it was losing millions of rands to battery thieves. The company said that the worst-hit areas are currently Soweto, Tembisa, Vereeniging and Parktown – however, it noted that this is a national problem affecting all mobile networks.

“Battery theft and related vandalism is costing MTN hundreds of millions of rand and the impact on the entire industry is exorbitant,” says Ernest Paul, GM of Network Operations at MTN.

“Recent data shows MTN had 733 batteries stolen from its sites across the country in April.”

Paul said that there is a high cost to customers and network providers each time a battery is stolen, because as many as 4-16 batteries need to be replaced at each site.


Read: MTN is losing millions of rands to battery thieves

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Hundreds of security guards are now guarding South African cellphone towers from criminals