MTN: Mpumalanga, Limpopo are getting a 5G upgrade

  • MTN says it has expanded its network to over 98 percent of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
  • The telecom is investing in expanding its signal and network to 95 percent of all rural areas in South Africa by 2025.
  • It is building over 100 new 5G sites across the two provinces.

In efforts to connect as many of its customers to its network as possible, MTN has today announced that it has achieved above 98 percent network availability, or mobile phone signal and internet connectivity, in both the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

The company has long planned to achieve 95 percent network coverage in rural areas across the country and is hoping to do this by 2025.

Isaac Monama, Acting Regional General Manager at MTN SA, explains that the telecom is looking to still build 12 new sites in Limpopo, while enhancing a further 80 through modernisation and layer upgrades. Meanwhile in Mpumalanga, the company is building four new sites, with a further 57 existing sites seeing their own upgrades.

“Uncovered communities – predominantly rural and sparsely populated – are our key focus right now and I’m pleased that we are making significant progress in closing these access gaps in the region,” Monama said about both provinces.

The initiative has included villages such as Waterberg & Ka-Mushiyani in the Greater Giyani region of Limpopo, and villages such as Mooiplaas in the Lowveld.

“The rollout in [both provinces] and across SA has led to improved throughput and availability, reduced drop call rates and increased data volumes,” the Big Yellow telecom adds.

While it has also been building new network sites, and upgrading old ones, MTN has also been engaged in a wide-ranging project to make sure its network stays online across South Africa, even when there is loadshedding.

“The 2024 resilience plan was to ensure all sites are completed with power backup in the form of batteries or hybrid generators on hub sites to minimise network unavailability during load shedding, load reduction, and extended power failures. This resilience project was completed in Q1 2024,” the company says.

While South Africans are now enjoying the longest span without loadshedding in the last two years, Eskom has said that it is planning for loadshedding to return in the winter months, and MTN will be ready.

“This is because a resilient network can respond and recover quickly to enable operational continuity in the face of disruption. MTN continues to raise the bar by enhancing access to the benefits of the modern, connected world,” says Monama.

“Overall network availability has improved by 27.18% since the start of the resilience programme compared to last year. Sites with resilience have a network availability of greater than 97% under stage 4 loadshedding,” says Monama.

Additionally, MTN has activated 56 5G internet sites in Limpopo, and 65 in Mpumalanga. It seeks to add over a hundred more 5G sites between the two provinces.

“Technology has the power to empower communities to participate within the bold digital world and act as economic catalyst for job creation in the Mpumalanga Province, and we will continue to work daily to brighten lives through the power of connectivity,” Monama concludes.


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