What the net­works say

Saturday Star - - INSIGHT -

MTN em­barks on a pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion process in ac­cor­dance with the mu­nic­i­pal guide­lines prior to erect­ing masts, says its spokesper­son, Jac­qui O’Sul­li­van. South Africa does not have stan­dard­ised guide­lines re­lat­ing to this in­fra­struc­ture. As a re­sult, each area is man­aged in ac­cor­dance with its own lo­cal re­quire­ments. “Pub­lic meet­ings are not al­ways a re­quire­ment by the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. How­ever, we be­lieve th­ese en­gage­ment ses­sions are im­por­tant and we will of­ten ini­ti­ate th­ese meet­ings to es­tab­lish and main­tain open lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with lo­cal res­i­dents. “An im­por­tant au­di­ence we need to re­mem­ber is the ‘silent ma­jor­ity’ of res­i­dents who sim­ply re­quire con­nec­tiv­ity. “Highly den­si­fied ur­ban ar­eas, where we see lots of town­houses, apart­ments and es­tates, are of­ten where we face the most de­mand from cus­tomers seek­ing to up-scale their con­nec­tiv­ity. “More ca­pac­ity and ever-in­creas­ing speeds are what com­mu­ni­ties are look­ing for.” The de­mand for spec­trum is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion. “While some progress has been made in fa­cil­i­tat­ing ac­cess to high-fre­quency spec­trum, there is a press­ing need to speed up the al­lo­ca­tion of spec­trum, par­tic­u­larly the im­por­tant 2 600MHz fre­quency. “The re­lease of spec­trum will cre­ate much-needed ca­pac­ity that will be op­er­ated us­ing ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture. MTN vol­un­tar­ily com­plies with the guide­lines set out by the In­ter­na­tional Com­mis­sion on Non-Ion­is­ing Ra­di­a­tion Pro­tec­tion (ICNIRP) en­dorsed by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the health and safety guide­lines out­lined by the Depart­ment of Health. “MTN un­der­took to carry out an elec­tro­mag­netic fields pre­dic­tive study for every an­tenna in­stalled. The emis­sions are 20% be­low the ICNIRP guide­lines.” A Vo­da­com spokesper­son said it ful­fils and ob­tains the nec­es­sary ap­provals from the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil for all its base sta­tion sites. “In ad­di­tion, we also em­bark on a pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion process, as re­quired by the coun­cil, where res­i­dents are no­ti­fied about our in­ten­tion to erect a base sta­tion site in their area. “Most ex­perts say there is no sci­en­tific rea­son to dis­tance base sta­tions from places where peo­ple live and work.” The spokesper­son says South Africa is in the “mid­dle of a mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity boom. “Data traf­fic on Vo­da­com’s net­work and across all mo­bile net­work com­pa­nies is grow­ing as more peo­ple use the in­ter­net and ap­pli­ca­tions every day. Today, in ex­cess of 20 mil­lion peo­ple use mo­bile de­vices to ac­cess the in­ter­net on the Vo­da­com net­work. In com­par­i­son, there are less than one mil­lion fixed line ADSL con­nec­tions in the coun­try. “The ca­pac­ity of each base sta­tion is limited and given the growth in data traf­fic, if we’re not able to add new sites, both the qual­ity of calls and the speed of data con­nec­tions will suf­fer.” - Sheree Bega

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