Vodacom has completed the R100-million rollout of 84 new cellular base stations across remote locations in KwaZulu-Natal which previously had no connectivity.
The new mobile towers were built in nine district municipalities and 14 local municipalities including Jozini, uMhlabuyalingana, uMfolozi, uMlalazi, uMsinga, uMzumbe, uMgeni, Ray Nkonyeni, Mandeni, eNdumeni, eDumbe, Msunduzi, Newcastle and Nqutu.
This rollout forms part of the operator’s rural coverage acceleration programme, aimed at expanding network coverage for people who live in deep rural areas of the country.
Executive head for operations in Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Ishmael Mathinya said a deliberate decision was made to invest in the region to ensure its network was accessible to all South Africans.
“The R100m investment in deep rural areas has enabled us to further expand our 3G and 4G network coverage, increase data speed, and help reduce our dropped-call rate,” Mathinya stated.
Vodacom explained some of the benefits that the rollout has brought to communities living in the areas.
“Within months of Vodacom having deployed new 3G and 4G sites, school-going kids can now access the Internet for the first time, whilst those who are actively looking for jobs are using their smartphones so that they can apply for jobs online,” Vodacom said.
“They have the option of using Vodacom’s e-School and jobs portals that are both zero-rated for Vodacom subscribers. Those who previously had to travel long distances to do banking are now doing this on their devices from the comfort of their homes.”
Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal aims to achieve 95% 4G population coverage in the province by the end of March 2022.
It therefore plans to deploy another 29 new deep rural base stations to cover 14 municipalities.
“The municipalities that will obtain a greater share in this financial year include uPhongolo, Umtshezi, Okhahlamba, uMzumbe, Ray Nkonyeni, uMhlabuyalinga, Umuziwabantu, Alfred Duma, Dannhauser, uMzimkhulu, uMsinga, uMhlathuze,” the network stated.
The areas inside these municipalities include Nyavini, Sitezi, Gansa, Bobweni, KwaNzimakwe, KwaMlamula, Manyampisi, KwaMasondo, Shemula Gata, Phakamisa and Sitilo.
Vodacom added that these sites would also address the crime challenges in various areas — including cross border — through reliable communication with its community service centres.
Below are more images of the recently constructed base stations.