Johannesburg — VODACOM will launch over 200 new rural network sites across South Africa in the year ahead. This is part of the mobile network operator's accelerated rural coverage programme in all nine provinces
Andries Delport, Vodacom Chief Technology Officer, said the programme had seen the company make significant progress in connecting villages which previously did not experience economic and societal benefits of cellphone connectivity.
"As Africa's leading mobile network operator, Vodacom remains focused on providing the widest and best rural connectivity in South Africa. We look forward to connecting the new sites in the year ahead," Delport said.
This comes after the company extended its South African rural coverage by 101 villages in 2018. These areas did not previously have network access.
The sites are located predominantly in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. 82 builds are already in progress and the villages were selected through an extensive prioritisation process. Vodacom has focused on areas of no or low coverage where the network is most needed.
In making its selection, Vodacom also looked at rural areas with places of interest that would benefit from better connectivity; including hospitals, schools, police stations and transportation hubs.
Vodacom now provides 81,5 percent of South Africa's population (55,91 million people in 2016) with 4G coverage, with 99,4 percent covered by 3G and 99,9 percent by 2G.
The company's network capital expenditure spend in South Africa over the last six years totals R48,59 billion (2013-2018).
Vodacom recently announced that it was the first African mobile network to exceed 80 percent population coverage on 4G in an individual country (South Africa).