Vodacom invested over R1 billion in the last financial year to enable more communities in both the Western Cape’s urban and rural areas to reap the benefits of connectivity. This forms part of the company’s commitment to building a digitally inclusive society, where increased access to online essential services and information, employment and education platforms, digital marketplaces and much more can help to promote socio-economic empowerment and close the digital divide.
“Our purpose-led goal at Vodacom is to ensure digital inclusion for all. By expanding our network coverage and capacity and upgrading existing base station sites across the Western Cape, 3G and 4G population coverage in the region is now 99.5% and 97.6% respectively. This increase in access to connectivity has the potential to transform lives, especially in previously underserved areas in which existing inequalities continue to widen,” says Carol Hall, Vodacom Western Cape Managing Executive.
The investment includes building 38 new 3G and 4G enabled base station sites, including 16 in townships and six in rural communities, and implementing LTE capacity upgrades to over 75% of base stations in the province. Vodacom has also built 50 new 5G base station sites in the region, which are ready for the next-generation technology roll-out.
Vandalism and battery and cable theft at base station sites continue to be challenges. Typically, five to seven base stations are vandalised each week in the Western Cape. This can impact network availability, particularly during load-shedding when back-up batteries and generators are needed to minimise service disruption.
To mitigate this, Vodacom Western Cape has upgraded 240 base station sites with new batteries and anti-theft infrastructure and relocated mobile generators to outlying areas to fast-track restoration in the event of power failures.
“Through ongoing evaluations on our network performance and capacity upgrade projects, we are able to manage increased loads and network faults faster, achieving more reliable restoration times. As a result, Vodacom Western Cape has the best availability, lowest call drop rate and the lowest congestion levels across all technologies compared to other regions. This forms part of Vodacom’s commitment to delivering the best network performance to customers throughout South Africa,” adds Hall.