Why your cellphone loses signal during load-shedding

JOHANNESBURG - If you struggle with cellphone reception during load-shedding, you are not alone.

Some of the country's major cellular networks have warned that continued power cuts will lead to connection issues.

Eskom has been struggling to keep the lights on since heavy rains started last week.

MTN's Jacqui O’Sullivan said load-shedding continues to be a problem despite the mobile network's investment in backup systems and generators.

She said most MTN sites have been equipped with battery back-up systems which are meant to last for hours, however, the frequency of load-shedding is adding strain to their systems.

“These batteries generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge, which in stage three and four load-shedding is simply not happening", said O’Sullivan.

READ: What is Stage 6 load-shedding?

In a statement, the network operator said load-shedding is resulting in additional costs for the company.

"Excluding the amount spent on new batteries for new cell phone sites, MTN spent around R300-million in 2018 on batteries for existing sites. In addition to the batteries, MTN has 1,800 generators currently in use.

Another significant additional cost of the load-shedding is the extra on-site security that is needed to protect the batteries, generators and general site equipment from thieves and vandals", read the statement.

Vodacom said it is aware that consumers are experiencing connection issues due to load-shedding.

"Stage 4 load shedding places additional strain on network operators. A notable complication with Stage 4 load-shedding over consecutive days is that batteries don’t get enough time to recharge to full capacity.

Vodacom is aware that many customers around the country will be experiencing issues connecting to the network because of the ongoing Stage 4 load-shedding that is currently in place", said Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy.