Vodacom’s 3G network is now available to more than 97 percent of the South African population in rural areas, with rural 4G population coverage at over 75 percent. Vodacom has helped small black-owned firms to become tower companies.
Vodacom said it has expanded its South African rural network coverage significantly over the past six years, connecting communities which are often isolated from the rest of the country.
In 2013, Vodacom’s 4G service covered 1 percent of South Africa’s rural population and its 3G network covered 64 percent. It said lengthy delays in completing the digital migration have meant that Vodacom has had to build a 4G network using spectrum other than the “digital dividend”.
This, Vodacom said, has hampered the rate at which 4G rural coverage could be rolled out, as the operator has had to unnecessarily build significantly more towers without new spectrum, which has raised input costs.