Good news for Vodacom customers in KwaZulu-Natal

Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal will spend over R1 billion into the mobile network this year, to improve regional coverage reach, capacity and network resilience, and accelerate access to connectivity throughout the province, particularly in deep rural areas and townships.

“This significant investment into the region’s mobile network drives our goal of building an inclusive, digital society. By increasing access to reliable, quality connectivity, such as the deployment of more sites and network upgrades, as well as continuing to deliver an exceptional network experience to our customers, we can help to ensure the benefits of digitalisation are within the reach of all communities we serve,” said Imran Khan, managing executive for Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal.

Bridging the digital divide by expanding rural coverage

R444 million will go towards radio access network related projects, R135 million has been allocated for regional network capacity and upgrades, with R85 million to be spent on improving network resilience, optimisation and operations, and R17.5 million on core network infrastructure upgrades and projects.

In addition, Vodacom said it plans to expand LTE capacity to 704 base station sites in KwaZulu-Natal in the current financial year.

“An impressive 99.5% of the region’s population have access to our 3G coverage, while we provide 97.6% with 4G. We are rolling out 27 new urban sites and 43 new deep rural sites across KwaZulu-Natal this financial year to expand this reach, and, importantly, connect the unconnected to online resources, such as education, healthcare and financial services, that have the potential to transform lives,” said Khan.

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Looking towards a 5G-enabled future

The KwaZulu-Natal region now has over 200 sites on 5G, with the rollout ongoing in the current financial year to add another 61 sites. 5G connectivity will deliver even greater benefits, supporting more widespread use of technologies like the Internet of Things and Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking, the operator said.

For businesses, in particular, 5G has the potential to unlock data-driven productivity that will fuel our economy.

“We are hoping to increase this 5G site count even more as the spectrum implementation process continues. At the moment, metro and high-demand areas in the region are benefiting from 5G, but our aim is to expand the coverage reach and capacity, so that all sectors of the economy, from agriculture to small businesses, can widely utilise new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, to boost sustainable productivity,” said Khan.

Overcoming network disruptions

“Load shedding, battery theft and vandalism at base stations, and the recent floods all have had an enormous effect on our network infrastructure in the region. Keeping our customers connected when they need it most remains a priority for Vodacom, and we have managed to overcome these obstacles through our increased investment in back-up energy solutions,” noted Khan.

Due to the R70 million investment into back-up energy projects, Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal has increased site power standby time from four to eight hours. The company has also deployed over 180 generators across sites to assist with backup power in the event of any disruption, with the procurement of 75 more in progress to increase network capacity.

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