Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Connectivity

SA floods wreak havoc on telecoms networks

Article Image
Heavy rains, flooding and landslides in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province have caused widespread damage to local mobile network services, with over 1,200 towers impacted across the province.

At least 45 people have lost their lives to the flooding in KZN and the death toll is expected to rise with many more people missing. Heavy rains have battered the east coast of South Africa since the weekend and the national army has now been called in to provide support to disaster management teams.

Major operator MTN told Connecting Africa that widespread infrastructure damage and power outages have already resulted in over 500 MTN sites going down in the region.

"The flooding in the KZN region has caused power outages at many of our sites and while we have battery back-up at many of the sites, these batteries have been depleted," said Jacqui O'Sullivan, MTN SA's executive for corporate affairs.

A Vodacom spokesperson also confirmed that over 400 of its towers in KZN had been impacted, largely due to disruptions to electricity supply.

"As a result, certain customers in a number of coastal areas – from Ballito in the north to Amanzimtoti in the south – are currently experiencing intermittent mobile services. Additionally, some fibre customers are being impacted because of water logged fibre ducts," Vodacom's spokesperson said via text message.

MTN said the major areas impacted by tower outages at this stage include Durban South, South Coast, Umlazi, Malagazi, Amanzimtoti, Ballito and Salt Rock, amongst other areas.

Cell C's Chief Technology Officer, Schalk Visser, told Connecting Africa that approximately 100 Cell C sites in KZN have been affected by the adverse weather conditions, however, its data centers in Durban have not been impacted.

Telkom's spokesperson said that over 230 of its mobile network sites were down in the province due to the flooding and that power failures have exacerbated the impact on its services.

"The floods have impacted deliveries to stores and homes. Our stores and call center staff capacity is impacted and some stores are closed due to staff not being able to get to their places of work," Telkom said.

Restoring connectivity

Vodacom also said it had scalable contingency plans in place and is working hard to restore connectivity in impacted areas as quickly and as safely as possible.

"While efforts to restore sites are being hampered by severe damage to roads and certain facilities not being accessible due to the risk of electrical shocks, Vodacom assures impacted customers that restoring connectivity is its utmost priority," the operator said.

"Our major challenge right now is gaining access to the sites with many roads being damaged or flooded, preventing us from refuelling our batteries or restoring power to the site," O'Sullivan explained about MTN's challenges.

"We know those affected need to be able to contact their families and friends. Access to connectivity is our priority and we are deploying all possible resources to assist," added O'Sullivan.

Telkom's spokesperson said its technicians are on the ground starting to recover services where they can access sites.

*Top image source: Mehadi965 on Pixabay.

Related posts:

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Connecting Africa Podcast: S2 Ep. 4 – Agri-fintech, from kibbutz to Kenya

The Connecting Africa Podcast team speak to Israeli-Kenyan startup Avenews' co-founder and CEO, Shalom Ben-Or, about his fintech super-app that has been built specifically for Africa's agriculture industry.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Cloud-native developer Deimos

This month's hot startup is pan-African cloud technology and professional services company Deimos which is on a mission to be the leading cloud-native technology company in Africa.

More Innovation hub

Flash poll

All polls

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

More Guest Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up