Vodacom announced in a press statement on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 that it plans to invest over R1 billion in its network in Gauteng during the current financial year.
“Of this amount, a large portion will be used to upgrade and increase Gauteng’s 3G coverage in the major townships,” Shane Hibbard, managing executive for Vodacom’s operations in Gauteng was quoted as saying.
“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,” Hibbard said.
Vodacom said that by the end of March 2015 it will have added more than 400 new 3G sites.
The network operator said it is also growing its Long Term Evolution (LTE) footprint in the province.
Around 600 new LTE sites will be live in Gauteng by April 2015, Vodacom said, adding that this will grow Gauteng’s current LTE coverage from 25% of sites to 38% of sites in the region.
“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,” Hibbard said.
While speed is a key consideration in this technology upgrade, Vodacom said that adding capacity is also a major focus.
It went on to add that one of its major strategic objectives is to reduce the cost to communicate.
“Just cutting prices without increasing capacity is a recipe for congestion and unhappy customers,” Hibbard said.
“To put all of this into perspective, data volumes on our network in South Africa increased around 70% over the last year,” said Hibbard. “If that were road traffic, you could imagine the impact on traffic speeds and congestion.”
According to Hibbard, their approach has been to significantly ramp up investment so they can not only cater for the massive increase in data traffic on their network, but also provide even more new capacity.
“This is the only sustainable route to a lower cost to communicate,” said Hibbard.