This was, of course, an April Fool's day story. - IOL Editor

Cape Town - Eskom plans to disconnect mobile Facebook and WhatsApp users from the internet.

In what is termed “loadshedding stage 3G”, the power utility thinks it has a new way to save electricity.

A source says that smartphones use around 1 Watt of power just for the online data radio transmission operation.

“There are more than 20 million smartphones in South Africa which adds up to 20 megawatts for the total number of smartphone users.”

It is understood that cellphone masts use approximately 20 megawatts, in addition to individual phone use.

Eskom’s plan is to get cellphone operators to switch off the data specific transmitters in each cellphone 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.”


Eskom apparently believes that the inconvenience to users unable to use Facebook or WhatApp during Stage 3G load shedding will be minor. “The normal voice and SMS services will still be available for emergencies,” the source said


Eskom’s new plan will apparently be implemented at midnight, April 1 2015.

A spokesman for the cellphone industry, Tony Ring, would neither confirm nor deny the source's claims, while Eskom spokesman Jan Draadloos said comment would be provided later.