R150 million to replace stolen and vandalised MTN equipment in KwaZulu-Natal

MTN will invest over R500 million in its network in KwaZulu-Natal following the violence and looting that erupted in parts of the province during July.

It will also provide R10 million in support to over 1,000 spaza shops in the province. Each spaza will receive trading stock, airtime to resell, and MoMo tools.

The R500 million investment will go towards MTN’s network upgrade and expansion throughout the province.

Of this, R150 million (30%) will be spent on replacing stolen and vandalised network infrastructure including batteries and copper cables.

MTN previously told MyBroadband that only seven of its base station sites were impacted due to malls being burnt during the looting. No sites owned by the operator itself were hit.

However, more than 100 MTN towers experienced outages during the week of the looting, many of which were in Gauteng or KwaZulu-Natal.

These outages appeared not to be related to the unrest itself but were part of the typical downtime due to battery theft and vandalism which occur throughout the year.

MTN said that the riots did impact its efforts to bring the towers back online as technicians were unable to do regular maintenance.

“Our strategy is on track to deliver accelerated growth over the next two and a half years in the KZN region by optimising key nodes, modernisation, investment, further LTE rollout and 5G expansion,” said Matthew Khumalo, the general manager for MTN KwaZulu-Natal.

“SA’s long-term success will be based on sustainable and accelerated job creation and the best way to do this is by helping small and medium businesses grow both in urban and rural areas,” he said.

“These are the true economic engine rooms we need to get working and MTN will continue to harness its digital solutions, expertise and network reach and stability to help support and drive business and jobs growth.”

MTN said that this year’s investment is almost double compared to the previous year.

In 2020 MTN invested R270 million towards network upgrades in the province, allowing it to achieve LTE coverage of 92% throughout KwaZulu-Natal.

The company said its strategic intent in the region includes network modernisation and LTE expansion in rural and township areas.

It noted that the temporary spectrum that was awarded as part of Government’s disaster management response to the pandemic, enabled MTN to provide extra capacity and speeds to all its customers.

The R500 million investment will allow MTN to further expand its 5G network in the region.

Areas such as Umhlanga ridge, Chatsworth, Durban CBD, Phoenix, and recently parts of Pietermaritzburg are already reaping the benefits of 5G. Coupled with the R5 billion-rand National Long-Distance Cable project that was recently announced, KwaZulu-Natal has received an incredible boost in connectivity and data speed, MTN stated

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R150 million to replace stolen and vandalised MTN equipment in KwaZulu-Natal