Independent online has reported that Eskom is to start implementing ‘load shedding 3G’ in an effort to save electricity.
According to the report, Eskom will ‘disconnect mobile Facebook and WhatsApp users from the internet.’
Sources say that smartphones use around 1W of power for data transmission operation, and with ‘more than 20 million smartphones in South Africa, [that] adds up to 20 megawatts for the total number of smartphone users.”
Combined with the approximately 20MW used by cellphone masts, this could represent a big saving for the utility.
According to a spokesperson from Eskom, cellphone operators will be asked to switch off data specific transmitters in each mast across the country.
“This will reduce cellphone mast and smartphone user’s power requirements by a total of 40 megawatts,” the source said. “No one in South Africa will be able to go online with their smart phones during Load Shedding Stage 3G.
According to IOL, “Eskom apparently believes that the inconvenience to users unable to use Facebook or WhatsApp during Stage 3G loadshedding will be minor. “The normal voice and SMS services will still be available for emergencies,” the source said.
The plan will come into effect from midnight, 1 April 2015.
A spokesman for the cell phone industry, Tony Ring, would neither confirm nor deny the source’s claims, while Eskom spokesman Jan Draadloos said comment would be provided later.