by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – VODACOM has spent more than R430 million (US$29 million) this past year in improving network experience and extending coverage in the Eastern Cape province.
A large portion of this investment has been allocated to providing broadband connectivity in rural areas in the province.
Vodacom now has 400 base station sites in rural areas in the Eastern Cape, introducing 4G connectivity to more than 19 villages this past financial year.
“This forms part of our ambition to improve the lives of all our customers, no matter where they live, through access to the life-changing benefits of digital technology and close the gap on existing inequalities,” said Mpumelelo Khumalo, Vodacom regional Managing Executive.
The investment has culminated in broadband connectivity densified in 30 urban areas and 5G rolled out to two metros.
By expanding connectivity in urban and rural areas, Vodacom Eastern region boasts 86 percent 4G coverage.
Meanwhile, load-shedding is an ongoing challenge to the availability of network services across the region, exacerbated by a 76 percent increase in theft and vandalism at base station sites.
Vodacom has invested more than R43 million in back-up power and security to improve resilience to these issues.
In addition, heavy storms at the end of 2021 caused extensive damage to network infrastructure, resulting in extended power outages and limited access to connectivity for many Eastern Cape residents.
“Despite these challenges, Vodacom Eastern region’s network teams continue to work against the odds to limit any service disruptions,” Khumalo said.
– CAJ News