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Vodacom SA looks to connect 200 new rural network sites

Vodacom SA looks to connect 200 new rural network sites

Vodacom South Africa will launch over 200 new rural network sites across all of the country's nine provinces in the current financial year.

Andries Delport, Vodacom Chief Technology Officer said the mobile operator aims to surpass its competitors on the extent and quality of its rural coverage.

"Vodacom's rural coverage acceleration programme has seen us make significant progress in connecting villages which have never experienced the various economic and societal benefits of cell phone connectivity. Vodacom remains focused on providing the widest and best rural connectivity in South Africa."

The mobile network operator says the sites are located predominantly in the provinces of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga and 82 builds are already in progress.

"In keeping with Vodacom's commitment to SMME development, the majority of the sites were allocated to small black-owned businesses to build. Vodacom is empowering these companies to become mobile tower operators, whereby they will build the sites and Vodacom will lease them back in return," read a statement from the telco.

The sites will be equipped with 2G or 3G capability with the possibility to upgrade to 4G when spectrum becomes available.

Vodacom says its 4G coverage in South Africa has now reached 81.5 % with 3G at 99.4% and 2G at 99.9%.

In May 2018, the operator claimed to be the first African mobile network to exceed 80% population coverage on 4G in an individual country after achieving this in South Africa.

Presenting the company's 2018 financial year results, Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom revealed that the company's South African operations are doing well, supported by strong customer additions and growth in data and enterprise services.

"Revenue growth was strong at 8.1% boosted by smartphone sales," said Joosub.

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