Johannesburg — MTN South Africa has invested more than R10 billion to improve network quality and capacity in the current financial year.
As a result of these network upgrades, MTN's long term evolution (LTE) coverage has reached 95 percent of the population and its 4G network is also available on major routes across South Africa.
The mobile operator disclosed the figures as it announced plans to capacitate its network in high density areas and tourist hotspots in order to carry increased voice and data traffic over the festive season.
"This network upgrade exercise seeks to enrich the experience of our customers who will be travelling throughout the length and breadth of this beautiful country either on holiday or visiting loved ones," said Jacqui O'Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs: MTN SA.
"MTN believes that its customers deserve world-class network performance wherever they may be, and these upgrades enable us to share that winning feeling with millions of South Africans," O'Sullivan added.
Operations are underway to cater for additional coverage and capacity requirements in selected hotspots.
The areas that have been identified for network optimisation are major routes including the N1 which connects Cape Town and the Limpopo, the N3 which links Gauteng and Durban, the N12 which connects Johannesburg and the Garden Route, the N2 which links Cape Town and Durban, the N4 which joins Pretoria and Mozambique and the N7 which is the route between Cape Town and Namibia.
Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer: MTN SA, said the company had embarked on a multi-pronged network optimisation drive to improve network capacity and quality in key nodes, in order to ensure that customers enjoyed seamless network experience.
"We will be working very closely with our vendor partners to monitor network performance around the clock in near real time, and senior management and regional staff will be on standby to attend to any technical issues that may arise," Chiarelli said.
The network optimisation will also entail the deployment of new base stations and technology upgrades on selected 3G and LTE stations, even in the most remote areas.
MTN will also keep track of its network performance on Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day when demand is expected to peak.
Where required, MTN will deploy mobile base stations in cases where demand exceeds capacity.
The holiday upgrade programme is based on analysis and trends from previous years at popular tourist sites such as Durban Beachfront, Ballito, Camps Bay, Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay.