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Vodacom announces investment into Gauteng’s major township network upgrade

August 20, 2014

The country’s biggest mobile operator say that it has earmarked more than of R1 billion for network investment in Gauteng in the current financial year.

Vodacom says a large portion of this investment would be used to upgrade and increase Gauteng’s 3G coverage in major townships, adding that it also plans to add more than 400 new 3G sites, by the end of March 2015.

“This means that we’ll be bringing improved data services to thousands of people who currently only have voice services and limited data services,” says Shane Hibbard, managing executive of Vodacom’s operations in Gauteng

“More specifically, the upgrade will increase network capacity and provide improved voice quality and mobile data speeds in areas such as Soweto, Orange Farm, Alexandra, Thembisa, Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve.”

In addition, Vodacom says it is also in the process of growing its LTE footprint in the province, with some 600 new sites going live by April next year. This will grow Gauteng’s current LTE coverage from 25% of sites to 38% of sites in the region.

“With 4G/LTE, video and music downloads can be accomplished in a fraction of the time of traditional 3G services. The areas we’ll be focusing on increasing LTE coverage are the business hubs and urban areas such as Pretoria, Bryanston and Rosebank as well as in the major townships,” says Hibbard.

While speed is a key consideration in this technology upgrade, adding capacity is also a major focus, says the operator, adding that a major strategic objective is to sustainably reduce the cost to communicate.

“Just cutting prices without increasing capacity is a recipe for congestion and unhappy customers. To put all of this into perspective, data volumes on our network in SA increased around 70% over the last year,” says Hibbard.

“Our approach has been to significantly ramp up investment so that we can not only cater for the massive increase in data traffic on our network, but to actually provide even more new capacity. This is the only sustainable route to a lower cost to communicate.”

Vodacom announced last month that it had added another 293 3G sites, as well as an additional 473 LTE sites across SA. This represents an increase of more than 50% in LTE sites.

On top of this, 74.5% of Vodacom’s sites are now connected using self-provided high-capacity transmission.

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