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Vodacom to inject R600m into Mpumalanga connectivity

27th July 2022

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Telecommunications group Vodacom plans to spend R600-million to accelerate coverage reach and network capacity and provide access to affordable, high-quality connectivity across Mpumalanga this year.

This adds to the R1-billion Vodacom Mpumalanga spent in the region over the past two years to upgrade networks and provide solutions to meet the increasing demand for Internet services, while driving digital inclusion.

“Through this investment we have been able to deploy more sites, upgrade our current base stations and expand connectivity through the roll out of next generation technology and fibre, particularly to deep rural areas of the province, whose residents have not had access to transformative online services,” says Vodacom Mpumalanga managing executive Zakhele Jiyane.

Of the R600-million capital expenditure planned for this year, R334-million has been allocated for network upgrades and the deployment of new base station sites, while R256-million has been allocated for microwave and fibre transmission projects.

“We have seen a 37% increase in data traffic in the region year-on-year, with 67% of all Vodacom devices in Mpumalanga able to perform data services. It is clear that we are a data-centric network, with over 85% of this data traffic generated on long-term evolution," Jiyane comments.

Following the R5-billion acquisition of 110 MHz of spectrum in March, Vodacom Mpumalanga was the first mobile network to roll out fifth-generation (5G) in the province, with plans to double 5G coverage by the end of the 2023 financial year.

“The new spectrum has allowed us to add much-needed capacity and expand next generation technology in the region. In addition, the newly acquired 10 MHz in the 700 MHz band is helping us to address rural coverage and indoor penetration challenges, improving the network experience in areas of KwaMhlanga, Wakkerstroom, Dullstroom and Mbombela, for example.”

Further, R85-million has been earmarked to ensure other communities are able to reap the same benefits.

Meanwhile, Vodacom Mpumalanga invested R111-million last year in battery upgrades at base station sites, with a further R58-million allocated to back-up energy solutions this financial year to maintain network availability and call set up success rate in the event of a power disruption, such as load-shedding.

“It is not just load-shedding which has an impact on our network availability and experience. Vandalism and theft also remain our biggest concerns when it comes to keeping our customers connected,” explains Jiyane.

During the first three months of the financial year, Vodacom recorded over 300 incidents, with batteries and cables targeted.

“Although we have implemented security measures, such as early warning technology and armed response at our base station sites, communities are our best deterrent in reducing this criminal activity and we encourage them to report any suspicious activity,” Jiyane concludes.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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