Close to a million customers have joined Vodacom’s 4G network in the quarter to end-June 2018.
“We continue to grow our current 4G data users, adding 739 000 4G customers in the quarter reaching 8.1 million customers,” Vodacom informed investors on Tuesday.
The Vodafone-owned mobile phone operator said it had spent R2 billion on capital expenditure, focusing on new sites, upgrades and capacity to improve network quality and performance.
“These efforts have resulted in Vodacom leading in data speed benchmarks,” Vodacom informed investors.
“This also allowed us to expand our 4G coverage to 81.5%, up from 75.9% a year ago. We also expanded our rural coverage and made progress to improve backhaul performance and capacity by increasing the proportion of self-provided high capacity sites from 90.1% a year ago to 92.4%.”
The biggest benefit of 4G is that it will be upwards of 10 times faster than current 3G network speeds. The obvious benefit of this is that you’ll be able to do things faster, consume more media on your device.
This week Vodacom network was named fastest 4G network and overall fastest network, respectively, according to Ookla’s latest figures.Using the results of over 185 000 tests across around 55 000 unique 4G devices testing across South Africa, during the period from April to June 2018, Ookla firmly puts Vodacom in the lead as “South Africa’s Fastest 4G Network”.
For more read: Vodacom Beats MTN For The Fastest 4G Network Title in SA
During the quarter to end-June, Vodacom launched 4G in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the award of a 4G licence. There are currently 80 sites live in three major cities of the DRC.
During June, Tanzania held a 4G spectrum auction, where Vodacom secured 2x10MHz of 700MHz.
“This spectrum is key in enabling us to extend and improve coverage and capacity, and thereby improve the customer experience,” Vodacom said.
The combined cost of the 4G licence in the DRC and 4G spectrum in Tanzania was $32 million (R433 million).
In 2016, Vodacom and Rain (formerly WBS) announced agreements for facilities leasing, services and Vodacom roaming on Rain’s network in South Africa.
Rain signed separate facilities leasing and services agreements with Vodacom, in order to lease passive network infrastructure from Vodacom, which they require to roll out a 4G network.
Vodacom signed a roaming agreement with Rain, whereby Vodacom customers will be able to roam on Rain’s 4G network.
Vodacom said the main benefit of the agreements for Vodacom is to improve the experience for its customers by offloading data traffic onto Rain’s network.
“This is an important mechanism to manage future demand for data services, which would have otherwise been challenging in a potentially spectrum constrained environment.”
The agreements have been given a nod by both the Competition Commission and ICASA.
“We now offer 4G services in all our markets except Mozambique,” the company said.