Vodacom increases capacity with new double-speed network
On Saturday 16 April, Vodacom officially unveiled its new double-speed 43.2 Mbps network in South Africa. More than 1,000 base stations in metropolitan areas across the country have been enabled with this new SuperMobile technology, and this will increase to 2,000 base stations during May. Despite the obvious attraction of potentially doubling the speed of internet connections, the main reason for the investment is an estimated 20% increase in system capacity on each upgraded base station.
Explaining this in more detail, Vodacom Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport said:
"The primary reason for investing in this new double-speed technology was to improve the customer experience. With greater capacity on each base station, we can achieve just that. The fact that individual connection speeds can be twice as fast is a nice side-effect but not the main goal."
Radio spectrum is a finite natural resource and a key limitation to expanding and improving mobile communications coverage and capacity. By implementing this new technology, Vodacom will potentially be able to carry about 20% more traffic in the main 3G frequency spectrum band. This won't eliminate the requirement for additional spectrum in the future but it does alleviate some current constraints.
Talking about this further, Andries Delport said:
"Vodacom's investment in this new technology really is a win-win. Connections speeds increase and the network capacity itself is also increased. All customers need to experience the higher speeds achievable on the new network is a compatible modem, which are on sale at Vodacom shops. Everything else remains the same - normal data bundles can be used and the price is the same."
Base stations are just one part of the network that provides mobile connectivity. The base station is only as good as the quality and capacity of the transmission links connecting it with the rest of the network. With this in mind, Vodacom has been investing heavily in high capacity fibre-optic connections to base stations to remove the bottleneck of expensive lower capacity leased lines.
Concluding, Andries Delport said:
"Saturday's launch was the culmination of years of planning and investment. Implementing double-speed technology at our base stations is another step in a series of upgrades across the network, and serves to prove that there's much more to the new Vodacom than just a new colour and logo."
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