Vodacom will turn off its 2G network coverage to expand 4G services and join Telkom by migrating users.
Vodacom’s group chief technology officer Andries Delport declared in a media conference that the company would not be able to deactivate its 2G network entirely, as the technology was still used by emergency services and for other applications.
Delport, said, “We are going to focus on switching 2G off in South Africa and seeing if we can get buy-in for that.”
Vodacom explained that dropping the dependence on 2G would enable the company to expand indoor coverage for 4G services and it would also make it cheaper to spread 4G coverage to more rural areas.
On the other hand, the portfolio manager at Mergence Investment Managers, Peter Takaendesa, said data and digital services were now the key drivers of revenue growth for telecoms companies and 2G networks were not suited for those services.
Takaendesa concluded, “The mobile operators use the old 2G networks largely for traditional voice services. While operators are still making the majority of their revenues from voice services, the future is clearly mobile data and digital services that require 3G-5G networks. The delays in licensing new spectrum in South Africa have meant that operators have to re-farm spectrum or rent network capacity from other operators with fewer subscribers such as Rain and Liquid Telecoms.”