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Vodacom secures tower site
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 00:00
Written by Farzana Rasool
Problems with the Vodacom network in the heart of Johannesburg’s business locale are set to be alleviated as the cellphone provider has “finally” managed to secure a site to erect another cellphone tower.
This follows the recent demolition of an office building and consequent forced removal of one of Vodacom’s key cellphone towers on the corner of Sandton Drive and Alice Lane, in the city’s economic hub. Subscribers have since been frustrated by a prevalence of dropped calls, an inability to connect to the network during peak times and slower data connections.
According to Vodacom’s head of corporate affairs, Richard Boorman, the Alice Lane site had some 10 000 unique users per day. He says Vodacom adjusted neighbouring towers to minimise the impact, and other towers in the area – of which there are about 20 – picked up the additional traffic, but were affected by the signifi cantly higher traffic volumes.
While the operator initially struggled to acquire a replacement host site, due largely to what Boorman says is resistance based on the perception of health issues, a site has now been secured – in Sandton Central Park – where a 25m “tree structure” cellphone tower will soon be erected. Boorman says, since Vodacom is still in the early stages of the planning permission process, it is not yet clear whether the tower will enhance or simply restore Vodacom’s network in the Sandton area.
Boorman says operators are finding it increasingly difficult to source people who are willing to host cellphone sites, with objections centring on “perceived health issues”.
“[The difficulty we had in finding a replacement site] is part of a wider issue that people aren’t willing to host sites based on the perception of health issues,” he says.
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