Mobile operator Vodacom says that data traffic on its network has increased 40% since a nationwide lockdown was imposed by president Cyrial Ramaphosa – driven by increased working from home initiatives and entertainment at home.
“Following the implementation of lockdown regulations in South Africa we noted a surge in data traffic on the network of up to 40% in comparison to pre-lock down implementation due to increased traffic as people work and entertain from home, but also due to zero-rating certain education, government and health sites to assist during the crisis,” it said in a statement on Thursday (16 April).
Vodacom said it expects this trend to continue in the short to medium term as more customers work from home and people using technology to remain connected, educated and entertained.
The operator said its engineers are ensuring that the network can cater for additional demand. “Where necessary we have the opportunity to offload more of our capacity to the Rain network in terms of our existing 4G roaming agreement with this partner,” it said.
“This allows for capacity alleviation on the Vodacom network. In order to increase the resilience of our network, we increased investment into capacity upgrades and batteries already in March and will continue with this to handle increased traffic and ensure availability.”
Vodacom said it has also submitted a request for additional spectrum as per the minister of Communications and Digital Technologies invitation to apply for temporary spectrum allocations.
The group said it expects to receive feedback during the week. “This will further ensure that network throughput remains optimal for all customers during this period, while being able to expand into certain underserved areas as well.”
“To date we have not experienced significant device and / or hardware supply disruptions that would have negatively impacted business,” Vodacom said.
“We are putting further measures in place to avoid disruptions and are working closely with our suppliers and partners in order to maintain critical supplies during this period.
“Where possible we have stockpiled some critical network and device elements to ensure that the network can remain available, while ensuring that customers will get access to devices while working from home,” the operator said.