Vodacom to spend R500m on networks during lockdown

By Natasha Odendaal for Creamer Media

Telecommunications group Vodacom South Africa plans to accelerate its network spend over the next two months.

Over R500-million has been set aside to add network capacity and increase network resilience during South Africa’s lockdown period and to help cope with any possible load-shedding.

This will include accelerating the installation of smart energy management solutions and supplementary network capacity.

“Vodacom is doing everything possible to ensure that we maintain our network service quality during this unprecedented time, with a notable increase in traffic already under way,” says Vodacom Group CTO Andries Delport.

“We are monitoring all traffic patterns daily and prioritising key network upgrades to add capacity and maintain the quality of services delivered to our customers where required,” he continued.

Vodacom is experiencing sustained peak traffic patterns for almost the entire day as South Africans are dependent on the network to stay in touch, work from home and keep entertained.

Prior to the lockdown, traffic typically peaked during certain hours of the day.

Vodacom expects network traffic to increase even further as customers connect for longer after it implemented price cuts of up to 40% on its 30-day data bundles and launched a range of free essential services available through its zero-rated ConnectU platform on 1 April, Delport added.

Vodacom also welcomed the temporary allocation of currently unused spectrum to help operators cope with the increased traffic demand.

Vodacom has applied to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa for temporary spectrum and is now awaiting the evaluation of the application.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to gain temporary access to spectrum to enable additional capacity to be added in the quickest and most cost-effective manner as traffic increases further.”

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