Vodacom unveils 4G site to provide fast Internet access in Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa

AdobeStock 73617891Mobile operator Vodacom Central Region has unveiled a new 4G base station in Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa, to provide fast Internet connectivity and connect the unconnected, particularly in the deep rural areas of Phuthadijhaba

Phuthaditjhaba is a town in the Free State province, bordered by the province of KwaZulu-Natal to the southeast and Lesotho to the southwest. It is the formal gateway to rural QwaQwa. Service provision in the area is difficult because the land is mountainous and has posed serious challenges for deploying network infrastructure by local network providers.

GSMA research shows that while the availability of high-speed broadband is critical to deep rural development, deep rural communities are lagging behind in terms of broadband connectivity, excluding many from digital transformation.

Evah Mthimunye, managing executive for Vodacom Central Region, explained, “We have embarked on a crucial network investment drive in our province as part of the rural network expansion programme so that we address coverage gaps in deep rural and township areas. The new site will provide faster internet speeds, greater capacity and help to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas of Free State province. This is part of our vision to make sure that we connect everyone whether they live in the cities, townships or in the rural areas, which requires investment.”

Base stations are a radio access network, and their crucial role is to connect to people’s mobile devices. The core network is more like the brains at the centre of Vodacom’s infrastructure, responsible for routing traffic and ensuring that everything works smoothly.

The region spent more than US$7.9mn to maintain and upgrade the network infrastructure across the province during the financial year 2020. A total of 40 new sites have been deployed in the 2020 financial year, most of which have been deployed in deep rural areas to ensure that people in underserved parts of the country can be part of the Internet Age and reap economic and social benefits.

The region has spent close to US$131,965 deploying two new sites in Phuthadijhaba, close to US$197,948 on battery upgrades and site restoration due to vandalism. They plan to invest a further US$329,922 on additional four new sites next in the next financial period and US$164961 on backup power for Makwane, Bluegambush, Tseki, and Mount Paul.

“We’re sending a strong message that Vodacom is taking serious steps in ensuring that people in rural areas are connected and have access to fast data speeds so that they become part of the Internet revolution and take full advantage of its positive impacts,” Mthimunye concluded.

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