MTN's head office in Johannesburg. Picture: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
MTN's head office in Johannesburg. Picture: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

In a bid to avoid the recurrence of the network outage MTN experienced in 2016, the group has been setting up more LTE and 3G sites in urban and suburban areas.

"We’ve focused on malls, highways and high-density areas to make sure that the effect of our investment is felt by our customers as well," group chief technology officer Babak Fouladi said at a media briefing.

The company also put work into the rural areas, layering the U900 spectrum on the existing U2100 spectrum.

Since September last year, the group has set up 2,400 new 3G sites, and in the last 18 months it has installed 4,500 LTE sites.

It has also extended its fibre network footprint to 900 fibre-to-site connections.

MTN has also turned its attention to network stability, addressing issues including volatile supply of power to sites. "Commercial power goes on and off, and there’s a lot of vandalism. But we have done a lot of investment to ensure that the availability of our network is going higher," Fouladi said.

To that end, the group has invested in batteries and generators to ensure a consistent supply of power.

This has seemingly paid off. MTN has managed to increase its network availability to 99.1%, up from 97.75% in 2015, with the dropped call rate falling just below 0.8%.

Fouladi also said that the group would be focusing on acquiring spectrum.

MTN is preparing for access to the 2.6Mhz spectrum but negotiations with the Department of Telecommunications are still under way.

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