Vodacom KwaZulu Natal Region pledged to invest over ZAR320 million ($19.3 million) for infrastructure in the South African region, with a major focus on building new LTE base stations.
In a statement, the operator said the “lion’s share" of the investment will go towards building 50 LTE base stations in urban and deep rural areas of the province, 27 have been switched on with an additional 19 to be deployed until the end of the 2021 financial year.
Districts in the region to see the upgrade includes: eThekwini District Municipality, Ugu District Municipality, Umhlabuyalingana District Municipality, Umkhanyakude District Municipality, uThungulu District Municipality and Zululand District Municipality.
Vodacom noted upon completion of the upgrade project some customers will connect to a 4G signal for the first time.
In the last two years, Vodacom increased its LTE footprint from 56% to 94% to reach over 99% population coverage in the region.
Investments will also go in towards the rollout of ultra-fast fibre broadband. As an example, Vodacom pointed to work on laying 56km of fibre through Newcastle, Madadeni, Oswezwini, and Blaauwbousch, with the project to be completed on December 22.
Ishmael Mathinya, Vodacom KwaZulu Natal Region executive head of operations, said: “There has been a massive focus on broadband connectivity in the rural areas, with LTE coverage specifically in the rural segment at just over 80% and plans to address remaining areas by the end of the 2021 financial year.
“Critically, the region crossed the 2,000 base station mark in mid-year. Furthermore, we’ve completed an additional 625 sites as part of bandwidth expansion in order to provide far more improved data experience largely targeted in eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg,”