Vodacom has welcomed ICASA’s approval of the mobile network’s application for temporary spectrum.
ICASA has assigned spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2,300MHz, 2,600MHz, and 3,500MHz bands to Vodacom.
“In addition to the accelerated R500 million in network infrastructure investment announced on Wednesday by Vodacom, the temporary assignment of spectrum will help alleviate network congestion during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa,” said Vodacom.
It said its mobile network traffic has increased by about 40% as more people work from home and turn to online services for entertainment.
“Vodacom remains focused on providing the highest quality network service to all of its customers during and beyond the COVID-19 lockdown period and we will continue to support the South African government’s efforts to flatten the curve in whatever way we can,” said Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub.
“The temporary spectrum which we have been assigned will go a long way towards alleviating network congestion in the coming weeks, and in the event that the lockdown period is extended further.”
Mobile spectrum was allocated by ICASA as follows:
- 700MHz and 800MHz – Telkom, MTN, and Vodacom get 40MHz each.
- 2,300MHz – Telkom and Vodacom get 20MHz each.
- 2,600MHz – Telkom gets 40MHz, Vodacom and MTN get 50MHz each, Rain gets 30MHz.
- 3,500MHz – Telkom gets 12MHz, Vodacom and MTN get 50MHz each, Liquid Telecom gets 4MHz.
ICASA stipulated that all successful licensees of temporary spectrum must ensure they support and create virtual teaching and classrooms as determined by the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
Vodacom said its e-School platform, which is a free curriculum-aligned service for its subscribers, has seen over a million user registrations to date.
“In March alone we saw over 100,000 new registrations, up from 25,000 in February, signifying a four-fold increase in the number of new registrations on the platform,” said Vodacom.
ICASA also stipulated that all COVID-19 websites as identified by the Department of Health must be zero-rated.
Vodacom zero-rated the official coronavirus website on 24 March and, more recently, also zero-rated the UIF’s uFiling platform.
“Vodacom will continue to increase the number of zero-rated sites and is currently working towards finalising its virtual classroom solution,” it said.