DURBAN – Vodacom KwaZulu Natal region has invested R1.4 billion over the past 3 years on the network as part of our vision to make sure that we connect everyone no matter where they live.Crucially, to provide adequate mobile network capacity for the anticipated inflow of traffic from over 55 000 people predicted to attend the Vodacom Durban July (VDJ), Africa’s greatest horseracing showpiece, the region deployed 12 additional base stations at Greyville Race Course.
The VDJ is strongly associated with fashion, meaning that the event attracts media attention as local celebrities and fashion lovers flock the event, using every opportunity they get to take and share images, using popular social media sites. The mobile activity by attendees tends to increase network capacity demand and the KwaZulu Natal network team makes provisions for this showpiece in its annual roll-out plans, so as to provide its attendees with superior network connection.
Ishmael Mathinya, Executive Head: Network Operations for Vodacom Kwazulu Natal Region says: “The Durban Chamber of Commerce expects the Vodacom Durban July to generate over R200 million and the contribution to the city’s GDP is expected to be in the tune of R380 million. Therefore the VDJ isn’t just about fashion and horse betting but is a major contributor to KwaZulu Natal’s economy. To cater for the data demand during the event, we accelerated our network expansion strategy in 2018/2019 financial year by deploying more 3G and LTE sites. Furthermore, we expanded network capacity especially around Durban City, airports, major routes and popular townships such as KwaMashu and Umlazi.”
“The 12 base station sites installed at Greyville Race Course are equipped with 3G and LTE, to ensure a great network experience for users. We have deployed massive MIMO (Multi Input - Multi output) technologies. This technology ingeniously utilises multiple transmit and receive streams to enhance data throughputs, this helps in achieving higher downlink and uplink throughput. This will allow seamless uploads and downloads of photos and allow for live high quality video streaming.”
Vodacom KZN’s aggressive network roll-out, over the years, aimed largely at provision of broadband connectivity, has helped the region to significantly increase its LTE population coverage to over 80%, while doubling it in the rural areas from last year. Of the 80% population across the province, half of the sites are on LTE-Advanced.
Through its rural network expansion programme, aimed specifically at provision of fast networks in rural areas, Vodacom KZN invested R82 million in the 2019 financial year. The programme has resulted into a cumulative 72 towers being installed over the past 2 years. Municipalities that have benefited from the rural expansion programme include Jozini and Umhlabuyalingana. Municipalities that will obtain a greater share in this financial year are Umzimkhulu, Ray Nkonyeni, Umzumbe and Umuziwabantu.
“Providing network connectivity for people who reside in rural areas is a high priority for Vodacom and is part of our vision to make sure that we connect everyone no matter where they live and be part of the Digital Era. We have committed to a substantial investment to help remove barriers so that citizens in rural and township areas have the same network experience as those who reside in urban areas,” concluded Mathinya.