Vodacom To Roll-Out 3G And 4G Services Across Rural South Africa
Mobile communications company, Vodacom, has announced the switching-on of 21 new 3G and 4G base station sites which were completed between March 2021 and April 2021 in South Africa’s rural areas.
The mobile operator said that the base stations covering 21 villages would provide high-speed broadband to some large municipalities across the Free State and Northern Cape provinces. The initiative is part of Vodacom’s Rural Coverage Acceleration Programme, which aims to expand network coverage for under-serviced, deep rural areas of South Africa.
According to Vodacom, the drive for the initiative is the GSMA research study, which found that the availability of high-speed broadband was critical, especially for rural development. The study had also noted that rural communities lagged when it came to broadband, excluding it from digital transformation and access to the digital economy.
The Managing Executive for Vodacom Central Region, Tsatsi Mthimunye, said that Vodacom new sites would provide faster internet with greater capacity to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas of the Free State and Northern Cape Provinces. This is part of Vodacom’s vision to ensure that all citizens, whether in urban, rural, or townships, receive broadband connectivity.
Vodacom has reported that the region has spent over R207 million (US$14.7 million) to maintain and upgrade network infrastructure across the province during FY2020/21. During that period, Vodacom deployed 40 new sites. Additionally, the mobile operator spent R67 million (US$4.7 million) in the same financial year deploying new sites in deep rural areas of the Free State province.
The operator said that the World Bank concluded a study that reflected that fixed broadband could increase GDP growth by 1.38%. Therefore, Vodacom’s vision and deployments will enhance socio-economic development in South Africa.