Market need

Telecoms base transceiver stations (BTSs) in South Africa and on the continent have been the target of theft and vandalism for many years, with mobile network operators (MNOs) and other service providers all feeling the effects equally.

BTSs are broken into regularly, mainly to steal backup batteries and copper – or in some cases, radio equipment for resale in other African countries. Aside from loss of property and downtime, many break-ins result in vandalism, costing operators millions in replacement expenses and downtime.

MNOs have been looking for a secure solution to stop, deter or delay perpetrators, testing many solutions over the years, but this has been complicated by the possibility of ‘inside jobs’ and syndicate involvement.

Technology solution

To overcome these challenges, Tellumat Integrated Solutions (TIS) has delivered an innovative and robust Ultra-High Security Cabinet (UHSC) solution through extensive testing and development. The latest release, a third-generation high-security solution, implements solutions to all the lessons learnt from multiple installations of previous versions.

The UHSC solution features thick steel walls and doors. A smart Bluetooth locking mechanism provides restricted site access to authorised personnel at specific times.

All mechanical lock moving parts are internal and lack handles or locks to prevent break-in. Doors are locked using an innovative bolt mechanism that can only be unlocked via the Bluetooth interface coupled with TIS’s proprietary electronics and mechanical locking device.

Multiple smart sensors trigger alerts of intrusion attempts long before the cabinet is broken into, making the simultaneous bypassing of all the sensors extremely difficult and allowing the operator to dispatch security forces to the site.

The batteries – the main target of perpetrators – are secured in a reinforced vault, which is further protected by undisclosed means.

Only slightly more expensive than standard existing cabinets, the UHSC can be deployed within 3 days. It includes a pre-cast concrete plinth, minimising civil works requirements for on-site installation.

The UHSC was designed to maximise free passive cooling to reduce energy consumption, and in most cases would not require an air-conditioning unit to be included in the solution. Several designs are available, to accommodate different site configurations and internal equipment requirements.


The UHSC was deployed in KwaZulu-Natal in several highly-targeted sites that are normally broken into within hours or days from deployment. In three-plus months since deployment, it has not been compromised.

Break-in attempts have been identified and recorded, and while no arrests have been made, no downtime, damage, loss of property or loss of revenue has been suffered.

Since one break-in could cost as much as a complete solution, the return on investment of the relatively low-cost, rapidly deployed UHSC is substantially greater than traditional cabinets.

In addition, the optimised free cooling design saves on air-conditioning capital and running costs.