South African mobile networks reveal plans for 2024

South Africa’s mobile network operators (MNOs) have new products, 5G expansions, rural rollouts, and enhanced load-shedding mitigation measures on their agendas in 2024.

That is according to feedback provided by the country’s five biggest MNOs in December 2023.

One of the eagerly awaited events in the mobile industry is a second high-demand frequency spectrum auction, which the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) plans to hold early in the year.

Spectrum refers to the electromagnetic radio waves used by MNOs as the communication medium for their voice, SMS, and data services.

All the country’s MNOs participated in the first spectrum auction in early 2022, securing a collective R14.4 billion’s worth of the scarce resource to improve their coverage and network performance.

There is less certainty as to who will participate in this year’s auction, if it proceeds as Icasa has planned.

Telkom has written to the authority asking that the auction be postponed to  2025 to provide for more time to conduct research to ensure the next batch of spectrum is licenced to benefit the industry and consumers.

Cell C’s involvement is also in doubt as the MNO is severely financially constrained and wants to transfer its current spectrum and network licences to a subsidiary of its parent company.

MyBroadband asked Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Cell C, and Rain about their other goals and plans in 2024. Below is the feedback they provided to us.


Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy highlighted the operator’s ambition to become a bigger fibre player as one of its key areas of focus in 2024.

Kennedy said Vodacom was hopeful that the Competition Tribunal would approve Vodacom’s proposed purchase of a 30% stake in Maziv.

In August 2023, the Competition Commission recommended that the Tribunal not approve the transaction, which will effectively see Vodacom, Vumatel, and DFA’s fibre assets merged under one new entity.

Kennedy said Vodacom firmly believed that the transaction would foster economic development and help bridge South Africa’s digital divide in some of the most vulnerable parts of its society.

When asked about launching uncapped 4G or 5G products, Kennedy said the operator had “several plans lined up in line with its roadmap for 2024”.

However, it was not ready to share more information on this at the time of its response.

“This is purely due to the competitive nature of our industry,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy would not share specific details on Vodacom’s planned 5G rollouts, as this was competitively sensitive information.

However, he said that Vodacom planned to provide 5G customers with an enhanced experience through faster speeds and lower latency while also supporting the development of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT).


MTN said its plans for 2024 were focused on ensuring greater investment into its network infrastructure, delivering an “epic” customer experience, and providing compelling, affordable and innovative products to South Africans.

As part of this, MTN will continue its network resilience programme in 2024. This programme seeks to better protect its base stations against load-shedding and power outages.

In addition, MTN’s “Ultra-Rural Rollout”, part of its network optimisation project, will continue in 2024.

“The purpose of Ultra-Rural Rollout is to deploy reliable and high-speed networks to remote communities where there is lower population densities and lack of existing infrastructure which has traditionally not been economically viable, leaving rural areas unconnected.”

The operator said it was dedicated to expanding its network to provide 95% rural broadband coverage by 2025.

“We have deployed and improved network in ultra-rural areas including Msinga’s Tugela Ferry and Greytown rural,” MTN stated.

“By the end of 2024, MTN will have hundreds of ultra-rural deployments in highly underserved areas.”

Another big goal is to complete construction of a 4.5MW Solar Park, which will see the company’s headquarters shifting to solar as its main source of energy.


One of Telkom’s biggest plans for the year is the launch of a mobile 5G network in the second half of 2024.

Telkom said this was made possible by rigorous testing and certification of 5G devices with all leading device manufacturers.

On the financial side, Telkom will focus on driving top-line growth, the implementation of itsvalue unlock strategy, and Telkom Infraco — the merging of its infrastructure assets into a single entity.

Telkom also hopes to impact 100,000 lives with its investment in small, medium, and micro enterprises by 2025, through its FutureMakers initiative and supply chain.

“In partnership with Absa, Telkom invested R39 million in strategic SMMEs in our supply chain to enable SMME expansion,” the company said.

“Through this partnership, Absa has committed an additional R100 million for FY2024 to fund an additional pipeline of black-owned SMME suppliers with a minimum three-year contract with Telkom.”

Cell C

Cell C said it would continue to “drive its turnaround strategy” towards financial stability and growth.

“With a newly formed management team, a fully operational network, reduction of its asset base in line with the capex-light model and a robust strategy, Cell C is well-positioned to drive growth and profitability, with several strategic initiatives implemented to drive revenue generation,” the company said.

“Through being truly people-centric and understanding our stakeholder needs, we will focus on innovating solutions that address their pain points and meet their needs,” it added.

Cell C added it was currently in the process of modernising its core network to the latest architecture necessary for 5G deployment and progressing discussions with a network partner.


Rain did not share much detail on its plans for the year ahead, aside from stating there was “more to come” in 2024.

That comment came on the back of its 2023 achievements, which included the launch of its fully-fledged mobile network with calls, SMSs, and 4G data services in May 2023.

The operator currently only allows customers to use these services if they also have a fixed-5G package.

Now read: Starlink will eat Vodacom and MTN’s lunch

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
South African mobile networks reveal plans for 2024