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Vodacom Group

Vodacom takes steps to improve user experience

Monday, 12 September 2011

At its annual results presentation earlier this year, Vodacom announced that it would be spending more than R6 billion enhancing the network in South Africa.  The company also committed to a longer term target of doubling the number of 3G base stations on the network.  Updating customers on progress, Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport said, "Increasing network capacity and signal coverage has been a major focus and since the beginning of the year, we've added over 250 new 3G base stations.  Additional capacity has also been added by upgrading 2335 base stations to more efficient double-speed 43.2Mbps technology. Our overall aim is to continue upgrading and improving the network in order to give all our customers a good data experience."

In addition to increasing network capacity, Vodacom has been hard at work implementing measures that are aimed at improving the user experience.  Examples of improvements made include the following:

Software upgrades on equipment that transmits and receives data via optic fibres have been performed to improve stability;
Several actions were taken to improve the overall voice quality on the network;
The replacement of all base station equipment has also been completed in Gauteng. KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo are currently in progress, with Western and Eastern Cape and other regions to follow. The main reason for the replacement of the base stations is to enable a seamless migration to new technologies such as LTE in future, without having to replace any equipment. The new equipment is also more environmentally friendly, uses less power and improves network performance;
The project to connect 2000 base stations with fibre by the end of the financial year is also progressing;
Implementation of additional fibre routes in the core network in Gauteng to improve capacity and redundancy; and
The re-architecture and the upgrading of the core transmission network.

Vodacom also studied usage patterns to better understand the causes of congestion at peak times and one surprising finding was that more than 95% of BlackBerry data usage was attributable to less than 5% of users.  Speaking about this, Delport said, "We need to ensure that all BlackBerry users are able to enjoy the service that they pay for.  When we realised that such a small minority was using the bulk of the capacity, we decided to implement measures that will ensure that Blackberry users will enjoy a better browsing experience overall."

Steps have been taken to ensure that the 95% of the BlackBerry users who are currently using the service fairly are not impacted by those who are abusing the service. The 5% of the base who are not using the service for what it was intended will have their connection speed reduced from 3G to 2G levels. 

Vodacom will continue with its efforts to provide a superior quality of service and will always monitor and implement measures to ensure good service quality for all its customers. For more information please dial 111 from your Vodacom handset or 082111 from any other handset.  


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