Vodacom: more spectrum needed to expand 4G in rural areas

2017-08-01 18:52 - Kyle Venktess, Fin24
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Vodacom. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Johannesburg - Vodacom Group chief technology officer Andries Delport said South Africa needed more spectrum to expand high speed internet access coverage in rural areas. 

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Delport said 4G coverage reached 44% of the country’s rural areas, but the country has run out of spectrum to grow coverage. 

“If we were given the spectrum tomorrow, of course investment would be needed, but we would be able to offer more coverage,” he said. 

Vodacom said the two solutions to the issue of expanding 4G network coverage in rural areas was to either get more spectrum or build more base station towers, the latter of which was not feasible as it would not address all issues of coverage.

READ: Vodacom CEO says data prices could fall even further

At present Vodacom has almost 5 000 base stations in place to provide coverage to rural areas, with 95% of the population having coverage speeds of 1 megabyte per second, at the least. 

“Various factors are taken into account when constructing base station towers which include population density and where a base station would service the most people,” he said. 

Vodacom said consultation with government will take place before base stations are constructed and at present Delport said coverage was first rolled out in metros, then urban areas after which rural coverage was increased. 

“If 1500 base stations are needed, it is pointless for all networks to build all 1 500 base stations in the same areas,” Delport said.

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