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Vodacom to triple 5G footprint across Western Cape region

Vodacom has announced that it has plans to triple its 5G footprint across the Western Cape region this year as part of a major investment. The company said in a statement that it plans to spend over R500m on the mobile network across the province during 2022 to grow coverage reach, increase capacity and improve network uptime.
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"This significant investment into the network will help the region expand connectivity in urban, deep rural areas and townships that had no or poor connectivity before and enable more communities to reap the benefits of highly reliable internet connectivity," Vodacom said.

Driving inclusivity with expanded rural coverage

Vodacom’s network investment of more than R1.5bn in the past three years in the Western Cape has allowed the tellco to switch on 38 new sites and upgrade over 75% of their existing 1,659 base stations with 4G capacity last year. “R500m will be used in the current financial year for investment in the Vodacom mobile network,” notes Carol Hall, managing executive for Vodacom Western Cape.

“As almost 90% of all our data traffic is carried on 4G technology, this amount will also go towards expanding 4G capacity across 530 sites in the region,” she adds.

“Those most at risk of being digitally and financially excluded without the benefit of connectivity are largely in rural areas, which is why we’ve focused our energy on expanding coverage to these communities,” notes Hall. Of last year’s site builds, 16 were in townships, with six built-in rural towns and deep rural areas in the province. The current investment will see a further nine sites added in deep rural areas. To date, 450 base stations provide coverage to rural areas, with 247 connecting townships in the province.

Ongoing investments have provided 98% of the Western Cape’s population with 3G coverage, with 96% of the region’s citizens enjoying 4G coverage. “It works like this that helps to close the digital divide, giving every citizen equal access to essential online resources such as employment, healthcare, and education platforms,” adds Hall.

Shaping a sustainable digital society

Vodacom Western Cape’s network investment is a forward-looking one, with 5G connectivity another focus area. At present, the telco has 49 5G base stations across the region, with plans to triple this footprint across the region this year. 5G connectivity will deliver even greater benefits, supporting more widespread use of technologies like the Internet of Things and Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking. For businesses, in particular, 5G has the potential to unlock data-driven productivity that will fuel our economy.

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