In MTN’s Central Region, which includes the Free State, Northern Cape and parts of North West, network sites with resilience are now achieving above 98% network availability daily and improving from 92% network availability.

This is the result of MTN’s network resilience drive which addressed more than 1400 sites through the program, leading to improved throughput and availability, reduced drop call rates and increased data volumes.

Machawe Dlamini, acting regional nanager for Central Region at MTN SA, says throughput (the amount of data moved successfully from one place to another in a given period), improved to over 14,09Mbps from a base of 10,80Mbps between January and November last year, while the drop call rate reduced to 0,2% due to the stability of the network.

“We have modernised over 50% of our sites in the region and plan to add further sites this year, including in rural areas. This will enhance capacity and drive quality,” says Dlamini. Total network resilience completed now stands at 94,58% in the region.

Dlamini says rural and farming communities have benefited in terms of connectivity as the network is now stable and available during loadshedding and power outages. Among highlights in 2023, the southern Free State town Oppermansgronde received 4G coverage for the first time, while all towns saw improved network availability. For example, network availability in Mafikeng in the North West improved from 75% to 98% during the various bouts of loadshedding.

He says more sites are on track to be completed in the first quarter of this year, while plans include adding more generators to increase the autonomy in areas struggling with extended power outages. MTN also plans to add more solar panels on site where generators can’t be deployed and all sites without LTE are planned to be upgraded to LTE in 2024.

“Loadshedding, theft and damage at sites remain challenging. We encourage the citizens to report any crime relating to network infrastructure vandalism and theft to law enforcement authorises,” says Dlamini.