Vodacom South Africa, the wireless carrier owned 50/50 by Telkom SA and the Vodafone Group, has given Alcatel-Lucent a nearly $30 million contract to design, build and deploy an upgrade of its existing 3G network. Vodacom is a Pan-African carrier providing GSM service to more than 34 million customers in South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique. Vodacom South Africa launched its 3G network in December 2004, its 3G HSDPA network in March 2006 and its 3G HSDPA 3.6 with HSUPA network this past February. Vodacom's South African GSM and 3G networks cover more than 98 percent of the population.
On commercial launch, Vodacom says the network modernization project “will boost the capacity and coverage of Vodacom’s network and will enable the carrier to offer its customers a wide range of advanced next-generation mobile broadband services in future.” The enhanced 3G wireless network, which will be based on Alcatel-Lucent UMTS and HSDPA/HSUPA technologies, will improve Vodacom’s network voice-quality and data-transmission speeds while further strengthening indoor coverage in urban areas.