Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said they had to strike a roaming deal with Rain to get access to spectrum to increase their network capacity.
Speaking to eNCA’s Taking Stock, Joosub said a lack of spectrum means that they are spending far more money than necessary to increase their network capacity.
With additional spectrum, Vodacom can add capacity to an existing site – but government incompetence means that operators have not received more spectrum.
To increase capacity in South Africa, operators are subsequently forced to add new sites to their network, which at R2 million per site is very costly.
Another challenge is consumers complaining about new cellular towers in their area, which is making it more difficult for mobile operators to improve their networks.
“It is becoming far more difficult to build more sites in South Africa,” said Joosub.
The solution for Vodacom was to partner with Rain and use its network to address capacity constraints on its own network.
“What we are doing today is that we are adding as much capacity to a site as possible, and when we run out, we either use the Rain network or build a new site,” he said.
“That is how we are trying to cope with the volumes, and that is why we did the deal with Rain – frankly put, we needed access to some spectrum.”