An expansion drive into rural and peri-urban areas and a major 5G rollout are among the key benefits for consumers as MTN invests R749 million into the Western Cape this year.
The investment forms part of MTN’s Modernisation of Network South Africa project (MONZA), which will see an additional 1,350 sites finalised across South Africa, with total 5G coverage set to reach 179 sites in the Western Cape alone.
“Our top three targets for the province in 2022 are improving availability of the network, increasing data throughputs, and expanding our 5G footprint,” says Paul Newman, MTN’s General Manager for Western Cape Operations.
“With improved access to data changing lives, our aim is to make significant inroads into plugging existing data gaps in South Africa. We are making major strides and our progress on network modernisation in the Western Cape is already almost 72% complete,” says Newman.
The boosting of coverage into villages and peri-urban areas is aimed at bringing network and connectivity services to people in the most remote rural settlements of South Africa. Through this rural rollout, MTN aims to have over 100 rural deployments nationally in highly underserved areas by the end of 2022.
“Areas like Khayelitsha, Mitchellsplain and Philipi will benefit, all the way through to the Southern and Northern Cape. With the completion of National Long Distance (NLD) project in 2021, major commuter routes such as N2 will see a huge boost in network coverage,” continues Newman.
MTN’s investment drive will improve coverage, but also maintain and exceed quality expectations, building on the recent recognitions MTN has received for its network performance. In January, Rohde & Schwarz SwissQual AG recognised MTN as the best network in South Africa on a basis of the reports Network Performance Score findings. Then in February, MTN was voted SA’s best network in the fourth quarter of 2021 by independent provider MyBroadband.
“Despite all of the vandalism and load-shedding challenges, which negatively impact on consumer experience of our network, it is significant that we still retain our number one position. What is important now is to build on these successes and the best way to do that is to ensure we bring the digital world closer for more people in the Western Cape, and throughout South Africa.”
“Digital access brings untold benefits – we saw how access to information kept people safe and educated during the Covid-19 crisis. We saw innovation in e-commerce change the way we shop and consume products and services. And so now as the recovery begins, we need to further harness the benefits of connectivity to create more employment and growth opportunities for our people, communities and our economy,” adds Newman.
The ongoing problem of battery theft and tower vandalism still looms large, but Newman says R10.5 million will be spent on fixing damage caused by vandalism in the province, with new battery installations costing R64 million also planned.
MTN’s heightened security and community collaboration strategy has seen a 50% year-on-year reduction in battery theft.
“With stable, reliable and fast connectivity so critical to the modern world, it is important we ensure disruptions to our network are minimised. We are making good progress, but we call on all consumers to remain vigilant and report any incidents they may be aware of to us or the police so that we can continue to bring uninterrupted digital progress to more people,” concludes Newman.