In recent years, telecom base stations and sites all over the world have been suffering from battery theft. Even when the issue is localized to a single site or tower, finding out and potentially replacing these cell tower batteries gets expensive quickly. When a service provider operates hundreds or thousands of sites, the potential losses quickly rise.
Moreover, due to the increasing frequency of battery thefts, the cost of securing these energy assets and the installations they support is rising. Mobile network operators are spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, every year on replacing stolen batteries and heightened security measures to monitor cell towers.
Why Are Batteries Being Stolen and Why Should We Care?
The original assumption was that batteries were being stolen for recycling lead contents or for self-use. As it turns out, the majority of the stolen devices are smuggled outside the borders, and some are even sold in the local black market. In one instance, a lone technician stole over 4000 batteries from towers from four US states, raking in over $120,000 in less than a year before being apprehended.
One of the benefits of cell tower locations is that they are, for the most part, remote, and not in the middle of someone’s backyard. However, this is also one reason why there is so much potential for theft, and the risks are not just monetary.
It is relatively easy for an individual with basic tools to arrive at any one of these sites, break open a gate and housing for the batteries, and make off with hundreds if not thousands of dollars in stolen assets. The theft of the cell tower batteries and the resultant damage to telecom sites has the potential to cause service disruptions to communications services.
These disruptions are a hindrance for private consumers and, even more worryingly, often affect the continuity of essential services and infrastructure. The loss of backup batteries can cause an outage that extends days after the incident. Moreover, this growing phenomenon is not just limited to lead-acid batteries but also includes Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIB).
As technology and society’s reliance on digital solutions grows, the challenges associated with these shifts change accordingly.
5G Presents Fresh Challenges to Deterring Battery Theft
The 5G era has begun and has brought with it a whole host of new obstacles and challenges from a cellular and physical security perspective. In addition, the nature of 5G requires the deployment of significantly more sites, exponential increase in energy consumption, and consequently, very high electricity bills.
The inherent nature and design of 5G infrastructure mean that these trends of increasing battery theft will only continue to rise unless the necessary steps are taken. Network operators and service providers have tried a variety of methods like increasing security cameras, hiring guards, installing battery safes, and even using heavier batteries. However, these methods are highly inefficient and often insufficient to combat the problem effectively.
Fortunately, Galooli has a cell tower monitoring solution to address these challenges and avoid traditional pitfalls from standard ineffective deterrents.
Keep Tabs on Your Batteries at All Times
Galooli’s Battery GPS Tracker technology offers a smart and easy-to-use solution that can be integrated with the most common batteries used in the market. It has proven itself worldwide and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for its customers in extended battery lifetime and optimized energy efficiency.
Our platform offers built-in as well as modular tracking and monitoring solutions that can be introduced to provide effective GPS tracking and real-time alerts at the slightest vibration. The solution includes live displays for cell tower battery status, charging voltage, temperature, functionality, as well any inconsistencies or outstanding issues.
This also includes a remote battery management tool accessible on desktop, web, and mobile to control an under-performing module before it becomes permanently damaged. Most of all, our solution features low energy consumption, as well as helping to extend battery warranty, 100% recovery rate on stolen assets, and OPEX and CAPEX reduction.