Vo­da­com em­barks on net­work up­grade

Lesotho Times - - Business - Bereng Mpaki

WITH 20 years of op­er­a­tions in Le­sotho un­der its belt, Vo­da­com Le­sotho is the largest telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices provider in the coun­try, hav­ing amassed a cus­tomer base of over 1.3 mil­lion.

VCL’S net­work is sup­ported by 285 base sta­tions erected around the coun­try all with ca­pac­ity for 3G in­ter­net ac­cess, while 60 base sta­tions were also in­tro­duced with the faster 4G in­ter­net con­nec­tion.

Through this in­fras­truc­ture, VCL is able to de­liver its prod­ucts such as voice, data and SMS ser­vices to its sub­scribers. Other ser­vice of­fer­ings like the mo­bile money plat­form MPesa, which has over 800 000 reg­is­tered users, have also been added to the mix.

How­ever, VCL’S cus­tomer base growth has also brought with it a chal­lenge of net­work con­ges­tion. As a re­sult, sub­scribers some­times ex­pe­ri­ence con­nec­tion failures and dropped calls es­pe­cially dur­ing peak us­age times such as month-ends and week­ends.

In an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week, VCL Man­ag­ing Ex­ec­u­tive: Com­mer­cial Johnny Dos San­tos said the com­pany was aware of the chal­lenge and work­ing on re­solv­ing it.

He said the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant was up­grad­ing its age­ing in­fras­truc­ture which was strug­gling to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing cus­tomer base.

“We do ac­knowl­edge con­ges­tion is a chal­lenge for our sub­scribers at times. But it is some­thing that we are work­ing hard to ad­dress,” said Mr Dos San­tos.

“Over the past three years, we have been in­vest­ing heav­ily to­wards im­prov­ing our in­fras­truc­ture to en­sure it ac­com­mo­dates our grow­ing cus­tomer base.

“Our in­fras­truc­ture has to be in line with the growth of our cus­tomer base to en­sure that no con­ges­tion is ex­pe­ri­enced, and our up­grad­ing ef­forts are an on­go­ing ex­er­cise.”

He said VCL’S pres­ence in the coun­try for the past two decades had changed the lives of many peo­ple for the bet­ter.

“Our in­vest­ment in Le­sotho has been based pri­mar­ily on connecting Ba­sotho. We be­lieve that when more peo­ple get con­nected to voice and data com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices, we can cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties that have the po­ten­tial to em­power and change peo­ple’s lives,” Mr Dos San­tos said.

“We con­sider the mar­ket that we serve and try to cre­ate pos­si­bil­i­ties for them. VCL is a driver of in­no­va­tion that cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties for Ba­sotho.”

Apart from its var­i­ous prod­uct of­fer­ings, VCL is also deeply in­volved in var­i­ous phil­an­thropic ac­tiv­i­ties through the Vo­da­com Le­sotho Foun­da­tion. The foun­da­tion’s ini- tia­tives ives pri­mar­ily fo­cus on ed­u­ca­tion, health and eco­nomic nomic em­pow­er­ment among ong other ar­eas.

Last ast year, the Vo­da­com Le­sotho Foun­da­tion launched its busi­nesss in­cu­ba­tion hub, Vo­da­com acom In­no­va­tion Parkk (VIP), which is meant ant to men­tor upand-com­ing -com­ing en­trepreneurs.rs.

In n June this year, three youth-run th-run en­ter­prises emerged erged as the win­ners of VIP IP af­ter un­der­go­ing rig­or­ous­rous 12-week train­ing ses­sions.

VCL Man­ag­ing Ex­ec­u­tive: Com­mer­cial Johnny Dos San­tos

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