“Climate Change spark Crisis”

… GSMAZ says loadshedding has the⁰⁰Telecommunications Sector in Zambia Under Siege

By Francis Maingaila ♥️

Lusaka, Zambia24 – (10-07-2024) – The telecommunications sector in Zambia is facing an unprecedented crisis due to severe climate change effects and prolonged load shedding.

The Global System for Mobile Communication Association of Zambia (GSMAZ) has issued a statement highlighting the sector’s struggles and the need for sustainable solutions.

“Zambia is going through the worst climate change effects ever experienced in the last 60 years of its independence and everyone has been impacted in one way or another,” the GSMAZ noted.

Zambia is experiencing its worst climate change effects in six decades, affecting the entire nation. The telecommunications industry is particularly hard-hit, with power reliability emerging as a critical issue.

Compounding the climate crisis is the prolonged load shedding, with daily outages extending 13 to 14 hours.

This has severely disrupted the operations of over 3,500 telecom towers operated by MTN, ZAMTEL, and AIRTEL, most of which are connected to the National Grid.

“The power backup at telecom sites is generally designed to last up to a maximum of four hours,” the GSMAZ explained.

“However, owing to current unprecedented load shedding hours, there is a huge cost variance not only for the fuel and generator maintenance but also for the associated fuel delivery logistics for the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).”

The reliance on backup generators has led to frequent refueling and maintenance, resulting in a significant increase in operational costs.

The financial strain on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) is mounting, raising concerns about the long-term viability of current power backup solutions.

According to the GSMAZ customers are bearing the brunt of these challenges, with frequent service interruptions becoming the norm.

“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience this is causing and would like to assure our customers of our continued commitment to providing good quality of service,” the GSMAZ stated.

The sector’s dependence on a single power source has proven to be a significant risk factor, underscoring the need for diversified and resilient power solutions.

The GSMAZ is working with stakeholders to find both interim and long-term solutions, including deploying solar backup power systems.

“We are confident that our Nation and all other sectors shall rise above the current challenges,” the GSMAZ concluded.

The telecommunications sector’s struggles highlight the urgent need for sustainable and resilient infrastructure solutions.

The GSMAZ’s proactive engagement with stakeholders and commitment to innovation will be crucial in navigating these turbulent times.

With the nation’s support, the sector is confident that it will overcome these challenges and emerge stronger.

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