Globe Telecom has reported a sharp rise in battery theft at its network facilities.

Thieves stole 834 backup batteries from the Philippines telco's towers in the first half of this year, which is around 2.4 times the number stolen in the whole of 2022.

– Getty Images

The thefts are serious because batteries provide backup power during grid power outages, particularly in times of disaster.

Battery thieves hit Globe sites 424 times in Mindanao, 363 times in Visayas, and 47 times in the Greater Manila Area.

Two thefts took place in Metro Manila during broad daylight.

"Battery theft, especially those brazenly carried out during the day, are a stark reminder of the challenges we face," said Mike Honig, Globe head of network field maintenance for GMA.

"While we're dedicated to ensuring 24/7 reliability, the increasing incidents of battery theft undermine our ability to maintain uninterrupted service, especially during power outages."

Globe, which has close to 90 million subscribers, said it has asked local governments to conduct random inspections in their areas, and warned that anyone buying stolen property risks legal action.

Also a problem in South Africa

Earlier this year South Africa's Vodacom outlined plans to fight back against battery thieves, noting that it was experiencing up to 28 incidents of vandalism, and losing between 18 and 30 batteries, from its base stations each month.

Vodacom, which has over 45 million customers across South Africa, said vandalism cuts thousands of people off the mobile network for days.

Repairs can cost up to "hundreds of thousands of rands," and the incidents add to the problems on South Africa's electricity grid.

Vodacom has installed CCTV at its base stations, along with steel-clad security cabinets equipped with alarms.

In May 2022, three people were convicted of battery theft and damage to Vodacom's essential infrastructure at Boschrand, Winburg. They were sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison.

The previous year another person was sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing a generator near Schoeman Park Golf Course in Bloemfontein, causing damage amounting to R800,000 ($42,000).