Mobile network expansion is in the news again, with Vodacom in South Africa and Telkom in Kenya announcing plans to invest in better coverage.
Vodacom has said it plans to spend over R500 million (US$29.4 million) on its mobile network across the Western Cape province during this year to grow coverage reach, increase capacity and improve network uptime.
It says that this significant investment into the network will help the region expand connectivity in urban, deep rural areas and townships that had no or poor connectivity before.
Almost 90% of all Vodacom's data traffic is carried on 4G technology, so this amount will also go towards expanding 4G capacity across 530 sites in the region.
Vodacom points out that its network investment of more than R1.5 billion (US$88.2 million) in the past three years in the Western Cape has allowed it to switch on 38 new sites and upgrade over 75% of its existing 1,659 base stations with 4G capacity over the past year.
Ongoing investments have provided 98% of the Western Cape’s population with 3G coverage, with 96% of the region’s citizens enjoying 4G coverage. As for 5G, Vodacom has 49 5G base stations across the region, with plans to triple this footprint across the region this year.
Vodacom also recently installed power back-up batteries at 240 sites in the Western Cape, while alarms and cameras are being put in place to alert Vodacom to any illegal activity.
In Kenya meanwhile, Telkom Kenya has announced plans to expand its 4G coverage, targeting the Coast and Lower Eastern regions including Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu and Taita Taveta, and extending to Mkueni, Machakos, Kitui, and Kajiado Counties.
The project, a partnership with Ericsson and systems integrator NEC XON, was announced in November 2021. It will add 2,000 4G sites to Telkom’s 4G/LTE network by 2023. Telkom says it will spend US$100 million on the project.