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6 April 2021

Impact of load shedding on telcos

Power outages frustrate customers, finds Telco Sentiment Index

While no network provider is spared when it comes to the devastating impact of load shedding, it appears some telcos are better than others at ensuring network continuity amid rolling blackouts.

This is according to the results of the latest South African Telecommunications Sentiment Index, conducted by BrandsEye in partnership with Deloitte. When analysing the sentiment in conversation on social media around load shedding, the study found Cell C and MTN users are the least impacted by the drop in network by load shedding.

Net sentiment in relation to load shedding

“Both Cell C and MTN saw considerably better Net Sentiment in load shedding conversation when compared to other network providers, suggesting their users were the least affected by power outages and further explaining why these operators did the best in overall network Net Sentiment,” says BrandsEye CEO, Nic Ray.

A common theme behind MTN’s relatively high Net Sentiment in load shedding conversation was that its network was the most reliable during load shedding. This conversation came from both MTN and their competitors’ customers.

The network provider that was most impacted by negative conversation around load shedding was rain, who also saw above-industry levels of risk conversation about downtime, evidencing network quality as one of its major weaknesses.

Stefanus van der Merwe, TMT Consulting Senior Manager at Deloitte, says that the poor network quality experience reported by some customers during load shedding is a major concern. “We live in Africa where we have mastered the management of redundant power on the sites, and surely understand the importance of this. Operators could overcome network quality issues linked to load shedding and this does not only refer to power on site.

“Their networks (RAN and Backhaul) should have the ability to instantly adapt to major changes without affecting the network performance or quality delivered. For the operators, the correct application of self-organising networks should not be a question of when, but how they can continuously improve and learn to adapt faster with every power outage,” Van der Merwe concludes.

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