POLOKWANE – Vodacom says it will spend more than R165 million to expand network coverage speed on voice and data services in Limpopo this financial year.
This after the company spent R220 million during the previous financial year to advance technology in the largely rural province.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it would not stop improving its network facilities because of international syndicates targeting its infrastructure.
Vodacom’s provincial managing executive, Chris Lazarus, said the company was deploying the latest technology in the area to enhance coverage.
“For the new financial year we plan to invest R163 million in the network. The bulk of this amount, R92 million will be spent in ramping up network capacity and R71 million on transmission capacity,” said Lazarus.
He said the company would be introducing basement stations in areas where there was no Greenfield mass towers, as well as deploying fibre cables to the new base stations.
He said an additional R2 million would be spent on improving road infrastructure to their stations and the replacement of aging instruments used in boosting the network.
The company said though the latest technology had been introduced, some subscribers were still glued to the 2G network accessing voice services.
According to Lazarus, there was a decline in the number of subscribers using first generation technology.
“We still have four million subscribers on our 2G network which means there are people who are still making traditional calls like we did when we introduced cellphones in the country.”
Lazarus said the number of people using the 2G network was declining in other provinces.
He said he believed that 2G remained relevant to some users because it was cheaper for users.
Lazarus said Vodacom was planning to source cheaper phones that would cater for 2G and the latest technology.
“The number of 3G users is still increasing, and that has gone up and also the 4G, because we have more than 33 percent of people using smartphones.”
Additional 145 LTE sites were set to be deployed to service Burgersfort, Thohoyandou, Marble Hall, Jane Furse and Musina.
The LTE technology has a capacity to operate three times faster than 3G technology.
However, the company also expressed concern that some areas were disconnected due to the theft of base station batteries.
Lazarus said there were several suspects who had been arrested and charged in connection with the incidents of theft.