Vodacom prepares for Eastern Cape holiday rush


Each summer brings an influx of visitors to coastal resorts across the Eastern Cape. From East London through to Port Elizabeth, Knysna and the Garden Route, demand on Vodacom’s mobile network increases dramatically as people flock to the coast to take a break with friends and family.

Earlier this month, Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub, presented the company’s interim results and specifically highlighted Vodacom’s network investment activities.

“To clearly differentiate Vodacom’s services, we invested R4.1 billion in the network in South Africa over the past six months. We added over 1000 new LTE base stations and 745 new 3G sites. This additional capacity supported the 18% increase in the outgoing voice traffic and 75% increase in data traffic. We also completed a six year project to replace all our base station radio equipment across the country, meaning that we’re 4G-ready country-wide and just need access to sufficient spectrum to make it “operational,” said Joosub.

While Vodacom has increased 2G coverage to 99.9% of the population and 3G coverage to 94.1% of the population, the migration of people to the Eastern Cape during the holidays presents a particular challenge for the local management team.

Carol Hall, Managing Executive for Vodacom’s operations in the Eastern Region explained that: “Mobile traffic, particularly mobile data traffic more than doubles at holiday hotspots this time of year. We’ve been ramping up investment to make sure that we can cater for this and have spent approximately R75 million rolling out 182 3G sites in Mthatha, Port Elizabeth and East London, as well as in the surrounding farming and rural communities. We’ve also deployed 92 LTE (commonly referred to as 4G) sites, bringing superfast connectivity to Port Elizabeth, East London and George.”

Hall went to explain that, “Vodacom’s preparation for the holiday rush doesn’t end with investment in new base stations and fibre-optic transmission. While everyone else takes life easy on the beach, our engineers are going to be hard at work optimising traffic and scanning for potential issues. We have to be even more vigilant at this time of year to make sure that our services run smoothly.”

The number of smartphones and tablets on Vodacom’s network is increasing rapidly, up more than 20% in the year to September to 8.6 million devices. On top of this, each device is using more data with each smartphone using on average 55% more data than a year ago, and each tablet using almost 30% more data.

“This year is going to be our biggest one yet for data demand, but our engineers have been hard at work preparing for it and I’m confident that we’re ready for the challenge. On the retail side of things, our staff at our 55 stores are well prepared to ensure we’re ready to deal with any queries, and will be open through to 24 December to deal with any last-minute shopping,” hall concluded.


Photo courtesy of www.bandwidthblog.com