MTN to invest R700 million in KwaZulu-Natal

 ·16 Mar 2022

Telecoms group MTN says it will deploy and modernise new and existing network infrastructure across KwaZulu-Natal with an R700 million investment.

This is in addition to the R500 million invested in 2021 and will go toward MTN’s “Modernise of Network South Africa Project” and expanded rural reach, 5G expansion and restoration of vandalised network infrastructure, the group said.

68% of MTN’s plan to modernise the network has already been completed, 1,350 sites are finalised, and roughly 200 top areas will be covered across South Africa by the end of 2022, it said.

“The extension of MTN’s 5G connectivity is also planned for KwaZulu-Natal [KZN]. Currently, the province has over 100 live 5G sites and more planned for 2022,” said Matthew Khumalo, the general manager for MTN’s operations in KZN.

The company has over 900 active 5G sites across the country and aims to close the digital access gaps in South Africa by having 20% of the population covered by 2022.

MTN said it is focusing on delivering network and connectivity service to people in the most remote rural settlements of South Africa.

The company aims to have over 100 rural deployments nationally in highly underserved areas by the end of 2022.

Challenges faced

Despite heightened security and its community collaboration strategy having a 50% year-on-year reduction in battery theft, the crime remains a major stumbling block, MTN said.

“R350 million is to be spent on replacing stolen batteries, infrastructure restoration, and security measures in 2022. This is over and above the R650 million invested in 2021, with 2,600 base station batteries replaced nationally,” said Khumalo.

“If they [the towers] don’t work, our network doesn’t work. This can have very serious consequences on business operations and in cases of emergencies. MTN urges community members across the country to continue being vigilant and report any incident of vandalism and theft at network towers,” said Khumalo.

Read: Vodacom invests R1 billion in the Western Cape

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