Vodacom has partnered with BPG Langfontein, a farming business that employs most of the people living in Wakkerstroom, to move all farm workers from the town onto 3G devices.
This has resulted in Wakkerstroom becoming the first smartphone-only town in South Africa.
Vodacom said that it hopes to replicate this process across South Africa as it seeks to give citizens who live in rural areas access to better connectivity.
The company will also educate these farm workers about data and the various benefits of the Internet, the company said.
Vodacom’s plan to turn off 2G
Vodacom CTO Andries Delport has said that Vodacom wants to turn off its 2G networks for consumer handsets so that it can improve its ability to roll out 4G.
“The big benefit for us to re-farm 2G is to improve 4G coverage,” said Delport. “If we can thin out 2G, it will allow us to use 900Mhz for 4G.”
However, about a third of all Vodacom devices still use the 2G network, and 2G is also used in urban areas in Point of Sale systems, telemetry hardware, and in a variety of low-level communication devices.
For this reason, Vodacom’s plan is to gradually reduce usage of this network so that it can slowly repurpose 2G spectrum into its modern networks.