MTN SA invests US$46m to modernise network infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal

SOUTH AFRICA – MTN South Africa, a telecoms company, is injecting R700 million (US$46.85m) to modernise existing, and deploy new, network infrastructure across KwaZulu-Natal.

The investment, which is an addition to the R500 million (US$33.47m) invested in 2021, will go toward expanding rural reach and fifth generation (5G) capacity, as well as the restoration of vandalised network infrastructure.

Funds will also be allocated to MTN’s Modernisation of Network South Africa project.

“The KwaZulu-Natal investment forms part of plans to modernise the entire MTN network, 68% of which has already been completed nationally, with an additional 1 350 sites to be finalised and around 200 top areas covered across South Africa by the end of 2022,” said MTN KwaZulu-Natal operations GM Matthew Khumalo.

The project will increase network coverage, which will also extend to previously unconnected areas, and improve throughput and customer experience in the region.

The extension of MTN’s 5G connectivity is also planned for KwaZulu-Natal, which currently has over 100 live 5G sites with more on the cards for 2022.

“We currently have over 900 active 5G sites across the country. With the aim of closing the digital access gaps in South Africa, our target is to have 20% of the population covered by 2022,” he explained.

MTN’s focus on KwaZulu-Natal will also deliver against MTN’s 2022 rural rollout ambitions of bringing 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.

“Every successful project completed is a step closer to ensuring our communities are able to access the best that a modern, connected life has to offer.”

However, a key determinant of the success of the MTN modernisation project is the ongoing battery theft and tower vandalism challenge.

MTN’s heightened security and community collaboration strategy has resulted in a 50% year-on-year reduction in battery theft.

The company plans to spend R350 million (US$23.43m) on the replacement of stolen batteries, infrastructure restoration and security measures in 2022.

This is over and above the R650 million (US$43.50m) invested in 2021, with 2 600 base station batteries replaced nationally.

“Our network towers are how we keep our customers connected. If they do not work, our network does not work. This can have very serious consequences on business operations and in cases of emergencies,” Khumalo concluded.

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