Vodacom Limpopo sets out to expand its coverage in the region, with a boost of R460 million to help move the process along. Vodacom apparently believes there is a need for better online access in Limpopo, which is reflected in the large sum they’re spending.
“Our investment in network technology aims to expand broadband coverage and provide quality network service to our customers. As a result, we are enabling citizens across the region to reap the benefits of connectivity and not be left behind in a digitised society,” says Miguel Simoes, managing executive for Vodacom’s Limpopo region.
Show me the money
The R460 million has been spread over a few sectors – expanding coverage, base station upgrades – the works. First of all, Vodacom has earmarked R140 million on broadband coverage. From this money will come 58 new base stations, with 17 of those going deep into rural areas. After deploying 58 new stations, the population with 3G coverage now stands at 99.7%. 4G coverage is now at 94.3%, with 5G still waiting it’s turn to get a statistic. But if Vodacom keep this pace, eventually 5G will be as big in Limpopo as anywhere else.
It’s not as if Limpopo has no 5G coverage. Just last year, Vodacom switched on the first 5G networks in Limpopo. Sadly, there are only two, but it’s a start. The first areas to get 5G were Polokwane and Thohoyandou.
As part of the R110 million, LTE was also given a bump, with Vodacom completing 642 upgrades in the region. This was due to a 46% increase of LTE traffic year on year. It was essential for Vodacom to complete such a massive upgrade to the network.
The next item on the agenda for Vodacom was countering load shedding. With load shedding being as prominent as it is, Vodacom is struggling to keep its base stations online. Yes, the stations have battery packs – but even those have been no help lately. The current load shedding schedules don’t allow enough time for the battery packs to fully charge. Better batteries are required, along with the need for security to protect these sites from thieves.
More than just 5G
Vodacom isn’t only erecting more stations. It is also offering those in Limpopo cheaper data bundles. The company launched custom Just 4 You bundles, open only to Limpopo residents. Some deals start as cheap as R5, with some of the better deals offering users 10GB data for only R100.
“Through our efforts to reduce the cost to communicate while at the same time introduce connectivity to more areas and upgrade existing network services, we have grown our customer base by 19% in this past year. This means more than 3 million customers in the region can tap into the life-changing opportunities of digital technology, from essential services to employment and education.” Simoes says.
Next on Vodacom’s list is the education sector. The mobile network operator wants to help out here and give Limpopo students a better chance of succeeding later on. Vodacom has donated 100 tablets to the top Matric learners across the province. This was done to encourage the best and brightest the province has to offer to keep on studying, with the hope that the tablet will help them achieve that.
Additionally, Vodacom has made a deal with the University of Venda and the University of Limpopo. It’s offering greatly reduced data rates, so that the students can continue their studies from home. This may only be helpful for a few months, depending on when the Universities decide to return to in-person classes.
Lately, Vodacom have been on a bit of a kick for these sorts of projects. And the best part is, they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
If you’re someone in Limpopo looking to get in on those custom Just 4 You bundles, check out Vodacom’s page. You’ll find the bundles available and how to load them if you’re new to the game.