Mobile data traffic typically increases over the holiday season in South Africa, and 2020 is set to be no exception.
Networks have historically had to scale up their network capacity in certain areas to meet this demand, although the unique effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may have reduced the necessity of this expansion.
Due to the advent of the coronavirus and the subsequent national lockdown, mobile data traffic grew significantly over the course of the year.
This prompted a quick reaction from operators and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).
ICASA released temporary spectrum across various bands, which allowed mobile networks to more easily improve the capacity on their networks.
This step was taken to meet the surge in demand for data as South Africans began to work from and spend more time at home under lockdown restrictions imposed by the government.
Mobile operators in South Africa quickly took advantage of this and began to scale up their networks, even launching high-speed 5G networks in certain areas.
This availability of this temporary spectrum has since been extended, although local networks are now required to pay fees to use this resource.
Rain is ready for the holidays
To determine whether Rain was ready to accommodate the projected increase in mobile data usage over the holiday season, specifically in certain venues, we spoke to Rain CEO Willem Roos.
Roos said that they do not expect data traffic levels to increase from the highs seen during the national level 5 lockdown.
“Rain does not expect overall network traffic to increase significantly from the high levels experienced during the lockdown,” Roos said.
“However, we do expect some of the holiday venues to have more traffic.”
This will not be a problem for Rain, however, as Roos said they are more than ready to scale their network if needed and have sufficient capacity to deal with any spikes in traffic.
“We have significant capacity to deal with further increases in traffic, and can scale our network core if required,” he said.
“Limited physical changes are planned during the holiday period.”