by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – MTN South Africa is investing R624 million (US$39,16 million) to upgrade and deploy new network infrastructure across the Eastern Cape region this year.
Priorities of the investments are rural rollout and to unlock under-served areas and 5G expansion to over 100 sites.
This is part of MTN’s Modernisation of Network South Africa (MONZA) project.
“We are working across the country to modernise the entire MTN network,” said Maria Soares van Niekerk, General Manager for Eastern Cape at MTN South Africa.
The executive confirmed just over 68 percent has already been completed nationally, and the Eastern Cape is the next focus area.
“While we have invested in improving data speeds and connections in the short term, this plan is longer-term in nature, securing resilience, stability, quality and helping us expand our reach significantly.”
MTN currently provides coverage to over 98 percent of the population in the Eastern Cape province.
The investment will increase this network coverage, improve throughputs, and elevate customer experience.
“Connecting the unconnected is our priority and it is extremely pleasing to be at the forefront of bringing a vista of new digital solutions to more people in our region this year,” van Niekerk stated.
Currently, Eastern Cape has over 90 live 5G sites. Another 18 are planned for 2022.
Network modernisation across 187 sites overall focused on East London, Mthatha and Queenstown sub-region.
MTN is planning to focus on 491 towers as part of its network resilience and optimisation programme.
According to Statista research, about one third of the country’s population has a smartphone.
The overall number of mobile connections is much higher though with more than 90 million, as feature phones are still popular and widely used in the country and on the continent overall.
The number of smartphone users is, however, forecast to grow by more than 5 million before 2023.
– CAJ News