Wireless operator MTN South Africa has announced plans to spend ZAR4.6 billion (USD487 million) upgrading its network in 2009. The company aims to improve network coverage and data transmission speeds, whilst reducing operating expenses. MTN is planning to build 305 new base station sites and is also investing in its fibre-optic network. Last year MTN reported a 33% rise in voice traffic and is hoping for similar success in 2009. MTN South Africa reported a total of 17.2 million subscribers at the end of December 2008, a 13.8% year-on-year increase.
In January 2009 MTN, in partnership with fixed line operator Neotel, commenced construction of a 5,000km national fibre-optic cable network which will bypass state-owned Telkom South Africa’s infrastructure, saving the companies ZAR900 million (USD95 million) a year.