Vodacom is making major moves to improve connectivity in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. The telecoms giant recently announced plans to invest over R450 million in the region this financial year, aiming to deliver “best-in-class coverage and customer service.”
A hefty chunk of that budget – R333 million to be precise – is earmarked for site upgrades and deploying 98 new base stations. This expansion should help Vodacom achieve its purpose-led goal of “ensuring digital inclusion for all” by bringing reliable connectivity to underserved and rural communities across the province.
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5G is expected to create 22 million jobs and contribute $12.3 trillion to global GDP by 2035.
The investment will boost Vodacom’s 3G and 4G population coverage to 99.62% and 99.14% respectively. The company has also increased its 5G sites to 109, reaching 29.81% of Mpumalanga’s population. As a result, 13% of data traffic is now carried over 5G, allowing customers to benefit from next-generation speeds.
The network boost comes at an urgent time as loadshedding wreaks havoc across South Africa. Vodacom is actively working to maximize network uptime during blackouts, spending R15 million last year on batteries and generators alone. An additional R117 million has been allocated this financial year to further reinforce Mpumalanga’s infrastructure against inevitable power failures.
But keeping the lights on isn’t Vodacom’s only headache. Thefts and vandalism of base station equipment average a staggering 87 incidents per month province-wide. The company is fighting back by installing security improvements like concrete barriers, alarms and on-site guards. However, Vodacom stresses that community vigilance is the best defence against relentless criminal attacks.
For cash-strapped subscribers, expanded 4G and 5G connectivity won’t count for much if data costs remain out of reach. Here Vodacom aims to help with discounted bundle offers starting from just R5. Early signs look promising on the affordability front, with the number of active data users up 8% and traffic soaring 48% across Mpumalanga over the past year.
The R450 million cash injection cements Vodacom’s commitment to connecting and empowering all communities across the province. Only time will tell if the bold strategy pays off by boosting loyalty and revenues over the long-term.