Vodacom will double the speed of its 3G network in time for the World Cup, offering download speeds of up to 14,4Mbit/s from its 3G-enabled base stations by June.
That’s the word from Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys, who was speaking to journalists following the release of the cellular group’s financial results for the three months ended 31 December 2009.
However, Uys has cautioned that not all the backhaul transmission links to the group’s base stations — these are the links that connect its cellular towers to its core network — will be in place in time to deliver the maximum speeds possible. He says increasing the speed of these backhaul links is a top priority for the operator.
Meanwhile, the group has also built a trial next-generation 3G enhanced high-speed packet access (HSPA+) network at its campus in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, capable of download speeds of as much as 21,1Mbit/s. Uys says this is the first HSPA+ network to be switched on in Africa. Only one HSPA+ base station has been switched on so far.
Vodacom says it will build HSPA+ base stations at soccer stadiums and other places that will be frequented by international tourists during the World Cup.
This is clearly a preemptive marketing strike against smaller rival Cell C, which is spending billions of rand building an HSPA+ network and recently awarded a R2,9bn to China’s ZTE for the first phase of the network’s construction. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral