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End of the 2G road

End of the 2G road

The end of the 2G network in South Africa is within sight as another operator begins cutting back on this service.

Vodacom has announced it is re-structuring its 2G spectrum to improve its 4G coverage and capacity.

Andries Delport, Vodacom's technical director said Vodacom plans to deactivate the company's 2G consumer voice segment and re-deploy the frequency spectrum for more strategic purposes.

He added that the company's 2G network will not be totally shut down considering the numerous critical telemetry systems and peripherals* that are connected to it. The biggest benefit for the company will enable it to improve its 4G coverage, via the 900 MHz band.

In July this year, Telkom also announced similar plans. By ending its 2G services, Telkom said it will be focusing more on innovative services while also offering more financial opportunities.

Industry experts attribute this move by the operators to the unavailability of additional frequency spectrums for operators to rollout future services such as 5G, forcing them to free up and reallocate the spectrums they already have.

"One-third of all Vodacom devices are still on the 2G network," said Delport, "and through gradually reducing the spectrum allocation for its 2G network, the company will encourage customers to upgrade so they can enjoy the benefits of its modern networks."

*Apart from mobile phones, PoS systems, telemetry hardware, and various low-level communication devices are also powered by 2G.

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