Vodacom South Africa said it has deployed new network sites in deep rural areas of Umhlabuyalingana Municipality, KwaZulu Natal.
This follows a call by Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele for the country’s mobile network providers to help improve network coverage in rural areas. Within months of Vodacom having deployed seven new 3G sites, covering 637 square kilometres with a population of over 50,000, the area has seen a 1,000 percent increase in data traffic.
In April 2017, Cwele and Mayor of Umhlabuyalingana Municipality Dompas Ncube appealed to the mobile networks to improve coverage along the Mozambique border. The project was aimed at boosting coverage in this municipality so residents can help in clamping down on cross-border criminal activities. Umhlabuyalingana is geographically located in northeastern KwaZulu-Natal and is one of six municipalities that constitute the District of Umkhanyakude. The municipality spreads for approximately 3,621 square kilometers with a rural classification of 99 percent. Its population is approximately 163,694 people, with an average household size of six people, of which over 99 percent are black Africans.
Vodacom deployed seven new base stations at Kwamshudu Primary School, Gazini, Thelizolo, Border Post, Star Mission, Manguzi Temp and Manguzi Taxi rank.
Vodacom plans to build three more sites in Mfakubeka, eMbongweni and Kosi Mouth. The 2G voice traffic in the area has always been stable around 2.55 million calls per week. With the addition of the new sites and U900 (data) roll-out in the area, 3G voice traffic has added another 800,000 calls, a 32 percent increase in voice traffic. Data traffic has been stable around 200 GB per week and with the addition of the new sites and U900 (data) roll-out in the area, the 3G data traffic has added another 2TB (Terabytes) – a 1000 percent increase in data traffic.