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Vodacom SA to spend R500-million on network as traffic increases

By , ITWeb
South Africa , 15 Apr 2020
Vodacom South Africa said it will invest R500-million over two months to bolster network as traffic increases.
Vodacom South Africa said it will invest R500-million over two months to bolster network as traffic increases.

Vodacom South Africa said it will invest R500-million over two months to add network capacity and increase network resilience during the country’s lockdown period, extended by two weeks to 30 April 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic .

The telecommunications services provider said it has experienced an increase in traffic across its mobile and fixed networks since the start of the national emergency lockdown.

The company expects this traffic to increase in light of recently implemented price cuts of up to 40% on its 30-day data bundles and the launch of free essential services available via its zero-rated Connect U platform on 1 April 2020.

It added that the R500-million will be spent over two months and will include accelerating the installation of smart energy management solutions and supplementary network capacity.

Vodacom said it secured permits from government to enable its field teams to continue performing their critical duties during this time, such as repairs and upgrades to key communications infrastructure. Vodacom has also ordered spare parts needed for maintenance in advance.

The company has also welcomed the Electronic Communications, Postal and Broadcasting directions issued by South Africa’s Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies on 26 March 2020.

Vodacom said the Minister proposes a number of measures to help operators cope with the increased traffic demand by proposing the temporary allocation of currently unused spectrum, and also helping to facilitate the rapid deployment of key communications infrastructure during the declared national disaster period.

Vodacom has applied to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for temporary spectrum and is waiting for its application to be evaluated.

Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport says “Vodacom is doing everything possible to ensure that we maintain our network service quality during this unprecedented time, with a notable increase in traffic already under way. We are monitoring all traffic patterns daily and prioritising key network upgrades to add capacity and maintain the quality of services delivered to our customers where required. We are hopeful that we will be able to gain temporary access to spectrum to enable additional capacity to be added in the quickest and most cost-effective manner as traffic increases further.”

The country went into lockdown from midnight on 26 March 2020.

ICT – including datacentres, fibre optic infrastructure, towers and antennae has been listed as an essential service that will be maintained during the lockdown.

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