Continuing its commitment to fostering digital inclusion and connectivity across Africa, the Vodacom Group has expanded its pan-African customer base to 196.2 million through innovative initiatives that transcend land, sky, and sea. Vodacom highlighted several connectivity projects aimed at accelerating digital transformation and promoting socio-economic upliftment on the continent.
Dejan Kastelic, Chief Technology Officer at Vodacom Group, emphasized the company’s dedication to leveraging the latest technological advancements to enhance connectivity in Africa. The Rural Coverage Acceleration Programme, focusing on land-based initiatives, has deployed nearly 9,000 4G sites across markets, including over 1,300 deep rural low-cost sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Mozambique. The program aims to reduce the cost of deploying and operating rural network sites, facilitating further expansion and connecting even the most remote areas.
Connectivity, vital for accessing transformative digital services, is seen as a means to empower communities and enable meaningful participation in the digital economy, particularly in underserved regions.
Vodacom Group’s financial services platforms, including M-Pesa and VodaPay, have impacted 73.5 million customers across eight markets, providing access to financial services for many who were previously excluded from the formal financial system. The launch of M-Pesa in Ethiopia is expected to further promote digital and financial inclusion in the country.
In collaboration with partners such as Vodafone and AST SpaceMobile, Vodacom is advancing satellite partnerships to develop the first space-based mobile network. Following a trial project with Safaricom in Kenya, AST SpaceMobile is scaling satellite deployments to provide communications to 4G devices in Africa and beyond.
The use of Project Kuiper’s low Earth orbit (LEO) communications initiative, in partnership with Vodafone and Amazon, aims to extend 4G and 5G services to more customers in Africa, particularly in rural areas where traditional terrestrial communications solutions are challenging and costly.
Vodacom Group’s involvement in the 2Africa subsea cable, the largest fiber-optic cable project globally, further strengthens its commitment to digital inclusion. The 45,000km-long cable connects Europe, Africa, and Asia, providing international connectivity to data centers, enterprises, and wholesale customers.
In the digital realm, Vodacom has made significant progress in scaling its cloud offering, forming partnerships with hyper scalers and establishing the Cloud Centre of Excellence with Amazon Web Services. The goal is to enhance digital skills on the continent, reduce delivery time and cost, and play a leading role in accelerating digitalization and closing the digital divide across Africa.