Behind Vodacom’s coverage battle

Poor network coverage, dropped calls and lines that are constantly busy, are some of the things that Vodacom says it’s constantly working towards decreasing.

The cellphone operator has committed itself to upgrading its network. This year, Vodacom will spend R6bn in increasing its network coverage. In the past two weeks Vodacom has installed 53 new network towers across the country, comprising of both 2G and 3G sites – updates of which can be found on the company’s Facebook page.

But at times the company’s efforts to bring better connectivity to citizens is met with resistance from environmentalist groups who have health concerns regarding the electromagnetic frequency given off by these base stations.

At other times when it attempts to erect new base towers it receives tough opposition from “health groups”.

“The major issue is a lack of general understanding that the issues of EMF/health and that of network quality are inextricably linked,” said Richard Boorman, executive head of corporate communications at Vodacom.

“For each new site we install, we face calls to have other sites removed and face opposition to multiple other new sites.  The main reason given for objecting to sites are health concerns.  Often it’s a vocal minority that impacts the service for hundreds of other customers,” adds Boorman.

In response to this Vodacom has installed boosters at some of its stations, to extend its service to those areas where masts might have been removed.

“This most definitely isn’t a case of poor customer service – it’s evidence that we’re doing everything possible to deal with a situation that is often out of our hands,” said Boorman.

Vodacom new towers
New Vodacom Towers that have been erected in the past two weeks

Source: Moneyweb

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Behind Vodacom’s coverage battle