South African cellco Vodacom has selected Alcatel-Lucent to design, build and deploy an upgrade of its existing 3G network. The EUR22 million upgrade project will boost the capacity and coverage of Vodacom’s UMTS and HSDPA/HSUPA networks. Alcatel-Lucent will supply its UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN) solution, including radio network controllers, node B base stations and a flexible wireless network management system. ‘Achieving an improved end-user experience with superior mobile voice and high-speed mobile broadband data services is our key objective in expanding our 3G network,’ said Andries Delport, Executive Director of Engineering and Technology at Vodacom South Africa. Vodacom is South Africa’s largest cellular operator by subscribers. The UK’s Vodafone Group recently announced it is upping its stake in the cellco from 50% to 65%, acquiring part of the interest currently held by the other shareholder, Telkom South Africa. Telkom is expected to offload its remaining 35% stake in Vodacom via a public sale as it seeks to enter the country’s mobile market under its own steam.