Vodacom expanded its connectivity investment plan by pledging to pump ZAR600 million (US$35.5m) into the province of Mpumalanga this financial year.
In a statement, Vodacom detailed that ZAR334 million will go towards network upgrades and the deployment of new base stations, while ZAR 256 million will go to microwave and fibre transmission projects.
Vodacom Mpumalanga managing executive Zakhele Jiyane, said the province saw a 37% year-on-year increase in data traffic, with 67% of Vodacom devices connecting to data services, and 85% of data traffic stemming from LTE.
“It is therefore imperative that we invest in network capacity and coverage to continue to deliver our exceptional network experience and expand the reach of our services to customers seeking high-quality connectivity,” said Jiyane.
Vodacom has partnered with Google to launch initiatives designed to lower the price of entry phones in a bid to migrate the 30% of customers still using 2G phones.
The investment comes after Vodacom acquired 110MHz of spectrum for over ZAR5 billion in March, which ha enabled the company to increase coverage and capacity in 4G and 5G networks. The company also announced an upgrade to the KwaZulu-Natal region.
Locations such as KwaMhlanga, Wakkerstroom, Dullstroom and Mbombela saw network boosts with the new spectrum, and ZAR85 million has been earmarked to help other communities in the Mpumalanga province.
In the past year, Vodacom Mpumalanga invested ZAR111 million in battery upgrades at base station sites, with a further ZAR58 million allocated to backup energy solutions this financial year.
The unit saw vandalism and theft becoming its “biggest concern” with over 300 incidents where batteries and cables were targeted.