Vodacom has found that deploying mobile broadband in deep rural areas can be financially rewarding. The operator said on Tuesday that it has built seven new 3G sites in the deep rural areas of Umhlabuyalingana municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, and demand for data immediately surged.
Within months of Vodacom deploying the new sites, covering 637sq m with a population of over 50 000 people, the area has now seen a 1 000% increase in data traffic.
The project came about in April 2017 after telecommunications & postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele and Umhlabuyalingana mayor Dompas Ncube approached the mobile networks and appealed to them to improve network coverage along the Mozambique border.
The project was aimed at boosting coverage for the deep rural areas in this municipality so residents can help in clamping down on cross-border criminal activities.
Umhlabuyalingana is located in the north-eastern parts of KwaZulu-Natal and is one of the six local municipalities that constitute the district of Umkhanyakude.
The municipality covers 3 621sq m and has a rural classification of 99%. Its population, according to government statistics, is about 164 000 with an average household size of six people per household.
Vodacom deployed seven new base stations and plans to build three more.
The 2G voice traffic in the area has always been stable around 2.5m calls per week. With the addition of the new sites and UMTS900 (3G at 900MHz), 3G voice traffic has added another 800 000 calls, a 32% increase in voice traffic. Data traffic has been stable around 200GB/week, and with the addition of the new sites and UMTS900 roll-out in the area, the 3G data traffic has added another 2TB. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media