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in late 2013, Vodacom embarked on a major project to accelerate investment in its network across South Africa. The programme, called Project Spring, has over the past year alone resulted in Vodacom increasing the number of 3G sites by more than 20% to almost 9 000, and more than doubling the number of LTE sites to 2 600.
This focus on network investment is continuing into Vodacom’s 2015-2016 financial year, and will result in more than R180 million being spent in the Western Cape province to expand coverage, and increase network capacity and speed.
'We’ll be bringing faster data services to tens of thousands of people who currently only have voice services and EDGE data services.'
Base station investment to increase capacity
Aberts Breed, Vodacom’s newly appointed Managing Executive for the Western Cape province, explains that the bulk of the money will be spent on adding new base stations and connecting sites with Vodacom's own high-speed transmission. 'An investment to the tune of R60 million has been completed on the Western Cape province network to date, meaning that our investment programme is on track,' he says.
'This year we’re planning to add 434 radio base station sites, comprising of 91 2G sites, 193 3G and more than 150 LTE sites. On a practical basis, this means that we’ll be bringing faster data services to tens of thousands of people who currently only have voice services and EDGE data services. The upgrade will also increase network capacity, and provide improved voice quality and enhanced mobile data speeds in outlying areas such as Vermont, Kleinmond, Veldrift, Saldanha, Gansbaai Town, Koringberg and Hopefield by the end of March 2016.'
Radio base stations are sites that enable mobile phones to work. They can be big or small and mounted on a large mast or tower, an existing building, rooftops or street lamps. Without them cellphones will not work and by March next year, as a result of the investment, Vodacom Western Cape will have a total of 1 205 2G sites, 1 166 3G sites and 631 LTE sites.
Core network investment to improve efficiency
In addition to the major increase in investment in base stations, Vodacom will also be chanelling investment into the core network.
'The core network is like the brains at the centre of Vodacom and is responsible for routing traffic and making sure that everything functions smoothly'” Breed explains.
Data growth in township areas of Western Cape has more than doubled year on year as more people buy affordable smartphones and tablets. To meet the growing need for data, Vodacom is rolling out sites in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Langa to help give residents better connectivity on their devices.
'Our goal isn’t just to be the best network in Western Cape. We’re investing millions of Rands into our network this year in a bid to ensure that we get as many people as possible connected no matter where they are. To achieve this, it’s important that we invest in the rural and township areas as well as the cities to make sure that nobody gets left behind' concludes Breed.