Telecoms

Vodacom launches SA's first smartphone-only town

Read time 1min 40sec
By moving the more than 1 400 farm workers from 2G to 3G devices, this will also free up the much-needed spectrum, says Vodacom.
By moving the more than 1 400 farm workers from 2G to 3G devices, this will also free up the much-needed spectrum, says Vodacom.

Vodacom has launched what it dubs South Africa’s first smartphone-only town in Mpumalanga province.

The mobile operator has partnered with farming business, BPG Langfontein, which employs the majority of the people living in the town of Wakkerstroom in the province.

The partnership has seen Vodacom move all farm workers using 2G feature phones to 3G devices, paving way for a new world of Internet and technology to farm workers in the area.

Situated east of Volksrust, Wakkerstroom, the second oldest town in Mpumalanga province, has now become the first smartphone-only town in the country, says Vodacom.

Residents of the town are all now using 3G-enabled phones and are able to access the Internet, the operator says.

Vodacom says it is pioneering an approach to connect people in rural communities to faster mobile networks and devices for them to appreciate the benefits of the digital revolution.

Zakhele Jiyane, managing executive for Vodacom in Mpumalanga, says there are growing expectations for big corporates to serve a social purpose and help transform communities.

He says: “We are helping to remove communication barriers so that citizens in the area can be part of the digital revolution and reap the associated benefits. By moving the more than 1 400 farm workers from 2G to 3G devices, this will also free up the much-needed spectrum and this spectrum can be re-farmed to provide for faster networks such as 3G and 4G.

“The move opens a new world of connectivity for farm workers in Wakkerstroom. As a result, most people in the area will now be able to use the Vodacom network to connect on the Net and access online government services, e-health services and e-commerce.”

Vodacom says it has already deployed 4G base stations in Wakkestroom as part of this commitment. 

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