Vodacom launches Wi-Fi for Blue Bulls rugby fans

A new solution from Vodacom will enable rugby fans visiting Loftus Versveld stadium in Pretoria to connect to a new high-density Wi-Fi network, with faster data connectivity.

The solution is the first step in making Loftus Versveld Africa’s first truly ‘smart’ stadium, the operator said.

“As the home of the Vodacom Blue Bulls and one of the most visited stadiums in South Africa, Loftus Versveld was the obvious stadium for us to launch this project.”

“Our engineers have been hard at work, installing more than 40km of fibre and more than 400 Wi-Fi access points,” said Andries Delport, Vodacom’s chief technology officer.

Vodacom tested the service for the first time at the Bulls-Lions match on 2 May, “and were incredibly pleased with the result,” Delport said.

Vodacom said it has implemented EAP-SIM (Extensible Authentication Protocol) technology at the stadium, representing a first in South Africa.

It enables a seamless switch between radio bearers (4G, 3G, 2G and Wi-Fi), meaning that a cellphone or tablet will connect to whichever bearer has the best connection, ensuring the fastest possible data access.

EAP-SIM also means that during a Wi-Fi data session it will still be possible to receive voice calls.

“An EAP-SIM network offers real benefits to our customers. On top of better speeds there’s no need to buy additional Wi-Fi bundles to connect to the network.”

“Instead, data will be drawn directly from a customer’s existing data allocation, making the connection and usage process simple. Non-Vodacom customers will also be able to buy Wi-Fi bundles to gain access,” said Delport.

The network, which was built by Cisco Systems, is made up of hundreds of Cisco Wi-Fi access points. Vodacom said it has plans to increase the number of access points to 700 in the future.

Vodacom said it is in talks with other stadiums and public spaces, like shopping malls, to roll out the solution.

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Vodacom launches Wi-Fi for Blue Bulls rugby fans