Vodacom to invest $24m on network expansion in South Africa
Vodacom is undertaking significant efforts to enhance connectivity in South Africa's Mpumalanga province, with plans to invest over R450 million ($24 million) in the region in the current financial year. The telecom giant aims to provide "best-in-class coverage and customer service" through this investment.
A substantial portion of the budget, R333 million, will be allocated for site upgrades and the deployment of 98 new base stations. This expansion is designed to support Vodacom's goal of "ensuring digital inclusion for all" by bringing reliable connectivity to underserved and rural communities across the province.
The investment is expected to increase Vodacom's 3G and 4G population coverage to 99.62% and 99.14%, respectively. The company has also expanded its 5G sites to 109, reaching 29.81% of Mpumalanga's population. This progress allows 13% of data traffic to be carried over 5G, enabling customers to experience next-generation speeds.
Points clés à retenir
The network improvements by Vodacom in South Africa come at a crucial time, considering the challenges posed by load shedding in the country. Vodacom is actively working to maximize network uptime during blackouts, having spent R15 million on batteries and generators last year alone. An additional R117 million has been allocated in the current financial year to further reinforce Mpumalanga's infrastructure against power failures. Beyond power challenges, Vodacom faces issues of thefts and vandalism of base station equipment, averaging a staggering 87 incidents per month province-wide. The company is responding by implementing security improvements, including concrete barriers, alarms, and on-site guards. However, Vodacom emphasizes that community vigilance is crucial to defending against these criminal attacks. To address concerns of affordability for subscribers, Vodacom is offering discounted bundle deals starting from R5. The company aims to make expanded 4G and 5G connectivity more accessible to users. Early indicators show promise on the affordability front, with the number of active data users up 8%, and traffic surging 48% across Mpumalanga over the past year.