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Vodacom spends R400m to improve network in Free State, NCape

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 20 Jun 2024
Vodacom Central Region’s 3G population coverage is standing at 99% and 98.2% for 4G, says the telco.
Vodacom Central Region’s 3G population coverage is standing at 99% and 98.2% for 4G, says the telco.

Vodacom Central Region, encompassing Free State and Northern Cape, is investing over R400 million this financial year in the region’s network.

This will increase capacity and resilience, and accelerate access to connectivity throughout the region, particularly in deep rural areas.

In a statement, the company says half a billion rand was spent during the 2023/24 financial year and R340 million in 2022/23 on expanding broadband coverage across the region.

According to Vodacom, this is an investment totalling over R1 billion over three years.

“We are investing heavily in the network in the Free State and Northern Cape in order to achieve our goal of building an inclusive digital society,” says Evah Mthimunye, managing executive of Vodacom Central Region.

“We intend to use this network rollout and deployment to help every community we serve to be part of the digital era and reap the rewards of digitalisation. Many of the communities in the region had access to the internet for the first time thanks to our network expansion effort last year.

“In order to improve access, we aim to build on this accomplishment this financial year by expanding broadband coverage and funding network improvements.”

From this expenditure, R250 million will go towards projects for the radio access network, R150 million to fund transmission, which includes the rollout of microwave and fibre for network capacity, and upgrades in the current financial year.

It adds this rollout will enable better connectivity and improved network speeds for the end-user.

According to the telco, Vodacom Central Region’s 3G population coverage is at 99% and 98.2% for 4G. The region will deploy over 30 new deep rural sites this financial year, to expand this reach and drive digital inclusion, especially in underserved areas of the province.

In addition, the region will deploy more 5G sites this financial year, with the following major municipal districts standing to benefit: Amajuba, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Fezile Dabi, Frances Baard, Joe Gqabi, John Taolo, Mangaung Metro, Namakwa, Ngaka Modiri Molema, Pixley Ka Seme, Siyanda, Thabo Mofutsanyane and Xhariep District Municipalities.

Widespread load-shedding continues to affect the network in the region, and to keep customers connected, Vodacom Central Region is investing over R120 million in energy projects, including the procurement of generators and increasing base station site power standby time, it says.

Vodacom believes these upgrades will improve network capacity and availability, particularly during stage four to six load-shedding.

“Inclusive access to connectivity is how we are meeting our purpose in shaping a digitally-enabled society and contributing to sustainable economic growth. At Vodacom Central Region, we remain committed to accelerating and expanding access to internet services, such as employment, education, healthcare and financial services, that can transform lives,” concludes Mthimunye.