South African mobile communications company Vodacom Group announced that it has invested over ZAR 450 million (USD 30 million) into the network and power backup upgrades across the Mpumalanga, a province in eastern South Africa, during the current financial year (1 March 2021 to end February 2022).
This significant investment into the network has helped the region expand connectivity in deeply rural areas and townships that had no connectivity before said a press release from the African connectivity and digital company.
“This has enabled hundreds of thousands of people to participate in the digital economy for the first time. This coupled with a concerted effort to drive down the cost to communicate through innovative platforms such as Just4U and Just4YouTown, has lowered voice and data rates across the province,” the company claimed.
Vodacom said the bulk of the capital expenditure was used to deploy new base stations sites, improve network capacity, perform power backup upgrades due to power outages, and roll out 5G to accelerate digital inclusion.
"As a result, over 20 new deep rural sites in areas such as Amersfoort and Thuthukani were switched on. Vodacom became the first network to launch 5G in Mpumalanga in Mbombela, and continues to extend coverage throughout the province, including Ermelo, Secunda, Leslie, and Emalahleni. The region has exceeded its 5G rollout targets by 200%," the release said.
Zakhele Jiyane, Managing Executive for Vodacom Mpumalanga region said: "We became the first mobile network to launch 5G in Mpumalanga and continue to accelerate our rollout. This is a full demonstration of our commitment to investing in the latest network technology infrastructure to give our customers access to networks that provide fast speeds. Data traffic grew by 25% and voice 6% the highest in Vodacom SA due to attractive rates and network rollout. As a result, the region became the leader in voice network performance in SA as measured by in-house monthly benchmarking and network net promoter score (NPS)."