Vodacom invested over R1 billion in the last financial year to enable connectivity for rural and urban communities in the Western Cape.
The group said it has expanded its network coverage and capacity by upgrading existing base station sites across the province, with 3G and 4G population coverage in the region now at 99.5% and 97.6%, respectively.
“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,” said Vodacom.
The company has also built 50 new 5G base station sites in the region, ready for the next-generation technology.
This forms part of its plan to build a ‘digitally inclusive society ‘, it said, where increased access to online essential services and information, employment and education platforms, digital marketplaces can help to promote socio-economic empowerment and close the digital divide.
“Last year, Vodacom Western Cape introduced WhatsApp bundles from R2 on the Just4You Town platform where customers across the province could take advantage of discounted voice and data offers.”
As a result, the group said it has seen a 13% increase in data traffic and a 2.2% rise in data-active customers in the region.
According to Vodacom, vandalism, battery, and cable theft at the base stations continue to be challenging. Between five and seven base stations are vandalised each week in the Western Cape.
This can impact network availability, especially during load-shedding when backup batteries and generators are needed to minimise service disruption, Vodacom said.
In response to this, Vodacom has upgraded 240 base station sites with new batteries and anti-theft infrastructure and relocated mobile generations to outlying areas to fast-track restoration in the event of power failures.
The telecommunications company has stated that it will continue increasing its footprint across the province and bringing its customers exciting technologies such as Software Defined Area Network (SA-WAN) and fibre to businesses and homes.