What happens to a cellphone tower during load shedding?
When load shedding occurs, a cellphone tower remains fully functional for as long as the batteries last or the back-up generator keeps running. Once power is fully depleted, the tower stops working entirely and, depending on the configuration of nearby towers, may cause a coverage area to black out entirely or for customers to experience intermittent service. Generators run on diesel, which means they can continue to run while being refuelled. Batteries, on the other hand, will last anywhere from four to eight hours before they will need electricity to recharge.
How does this affect the customer and why would they experience intermittent service?
Typically with load shedding, if your nearest cellphone tower with the strongest signal (your primary cell) goes down, you could then be connected through 'signal spillage' from a secondary cell. In this instance, as the customer is on the edge of that cell, network service deteriorates and can result in intermittent service. Naturally if both the primary and neighbouring secondary cells are powerless, there is no signal at all. It is also worth noting that the network service quality will start degrading if more people connect to the sites which are still up – in other words, the number of mobile subscribers would stay the same, but the number of serving sites would be reduced....
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