MTN to spend over R620m in Free State, Northern Cape in network expansion and 5G drive. The company will focus on 5G deployment, rural rollout and underserved areas throughout the provinces while also improving battery theft prevention measures
Focused on improving network availability, expediting battery resilience and maintaining throughput excellence across the Free State and Northern Cape , MTN will invest R412m in the Free State and R215m in the Northern Cape in 2022.
In line with the company’s countrywide Modernisation of Network South Africa (MONZA) project, which aims to modernise existing and deploy new network infrastructure, investments have already been made across 40% of the network in the Free State and 61% in the Northern Cape,
“We will be ramping up our investment into the regions to increase network coverage, improve speeds and enhance overall customer experience. We are on track to add 21 additional 5G sites across both provinces – to build on the existing 45 in the Free State and 21 in the Northern Cape.”Sunette Els General Manager: Regional Operations, MTN
Highlights will include more 5G sites in Bloemfontein with better throughput than customers could receive from any other provider, and first-ever 5G sites in Virginia near Welkom, Hopetown and Dwaalhoek in the Northern Cape.
Overall, MTN SA’s MONZA project has seen just over 68% having been completed nationally. An additional 1,350 sites are set to be finalised during the year, and around 200 top areas covered across SA.
Connecting the unconnected remains a top priority for MTN and the telco’s 2022 rural rollout plan will bring network and connectivity services to people in the most remote rural settlements of South Africa.
MTN aims to have over 100 rural deployments nationally in highly underserved areas by the end of 2022, including small towns like Springfontein, Hoopstad, Koppies, Hartswater, Ga-Mothibi, Pomfret, Douglas and Prieska across the Free State and Northern Cape regions.
“We are committed to reach our goals for 2022 and deliver a superior, reliable network experience, while improving access to advanced digital opportunities for more South Africans, especially those in outlying and rural areas.
For us, improving access, enhancing connectivity and focusing on network quality are key focus areas, as this will open the door to the myriad of growth opportunities for all South Africans to benefit from as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.Sunette Els General Manager: Regional Operations, MTN
A key determinant of the success of the MTN plans is the ongoing problem of battery theft and tower vandalism. While MTN’s heightened security and community collaboration strategy has seen a 50% year-on-year reduction in battery theft, a further anticipated R350 million is to be spent on the replacement of stolen batteries, infrastructure restoration and security measures in 2022. This is over and above the R650 million invested in 2021, with 2,600 base station batteries replaced nationally.
Sunette Els says 350 sites in the Free State and Northern Cape will see battery upgrades, as MTN works to stop criminal activities in the regions.
“Theft of batteries, cables and copper and vandalism at towers remains a nationwide problem. While we are seeing progress in reducing the numbers of incidences, network stability remains a risk every time a battery is stolen, or vandalism occurs. We ask communities to please remain vigilant, aware and to report any incidents they see.
Our aim is to deliver a superior, reliable network experience to all South Africans, to connect as many people as we can to the next network in the country, and we are firmly on track to deliver on these objectives in 2022.”Sunette Els General Manager: Regional Operations, MTN