The transition into the new year is generally filled with a mix of celebrations and resolution-setting.
As part of the annual tradition, many South Africans send celebratory messages to their friends and family as the clock strikes midnight, wishing them the best for the year ahead.
This practice can put additional strain on mobile networks, and often results in messages not being sent, or only reaching their recipients a while later.
This can be frustrating to mobile device users, who have come to expect networks to be available at all times.
MyBroadband spoke to South Africa’s leading mobile networks to uncover how they have been preparing for this annual spike in mobile network traffic.
Jacqui O’Sullivan, executive for corporate affairs at MTN South Africa, said that MTN is fully prepared for the increased network usage over the festive season.
“MTN SA will boost its network capacity in tourist and holiday hotspots, and expand coverage in rural areas this festive season as it expects the demand for its services to soar,” said O’Sullivan.
She added that MTN would do so by rolling out new base stations to remote areas, as well as performing upgrades on selected 3G and 4G base stations in both urban and rural parts of South Africa.
MTN will also be ready for New Year’s Eve, as well as other festive events, said O’Sullivan.
“We will also keep track of New Year’s Eve and special events and, where required, add mobile base stations to reduce congestion.”
“The deployment of temporary mobile base stations will provide added capacity in areas where the installation of permanent sites would not be completed in time for the holidays, or where temporary capacity is required,” added O’Sullivan.
A Vodacom spokesperson told MyBroadband that due to the increased popularity of messaging through platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, Vodacom’s network has been under less pressure for the past few years.
“These platforms typically require less resources to facilitate than SMS,” said Vodacom.
“This means that Vodacom’s network can better support the increased flow of messages, with minimal disruption to customers.”
Additionally, Vodacom told MyBroadband that it has added over 150 new sites to its network, which will help to manage additional traffic over the holiday season.
“In addition to the new permanent sites, a number of temporary sites will be deployed in strategic areas to accommodate additional voice and data traffic,” Vodacom added.
Cell C and Telkom did not provide feedback to questions.