The cellular networks are boosting their capacity for voice and data calls ahead of the festive season. Measures include upgrading base stations and expanding network capacity, writes Stephen Whitford of ItWeb.

Phillip Hill, MTN GM of product service and innovation in marketing, says the company is running a holiday upgrade programme to cope with the inevitable increased demand on the network. "Using our predictive models, which incorporate the figures from previous years and the current number of subscribers, estimations have been done on the needs of the network.

"Based on the predictions, we will be upgrading 500 base stations at prime holiday locations around the country to bolster the communication between users’ cellphones and our towers. This will be completed within the next two weeks. We have also increased our call capacity on the network with more infrastructure and processing capability between the major centres," he says.

Last year, MTN subscribers sent 9.6 million SMSs on New Year’s Eve and made 4 million calls. A total of 39.7 million messages were sent in the period between Christmas and New Year, a 50% increase from the previous year. Hill estimates the volumes of calls and SMSs will increase by at least 25% this year.

Vodacom media liaison officer Ivan Booth says Vodacom has modified its messaging architecture to increase the capacity and cater for a surge in traffic over the festive season. "The plans we have put in place should ensure that little if no delays in SMS transmission should take place. Should additional demands be placed on the network in terms of either voice or data traffic, certain standard capacity-boosting measures can be put in place to cope with these demands."

Booth says Vodacom subscribers sent 39 million SMSs on Christmas Day last year and 33 million messages on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Vodacom expects a 30% increase in the number of text messages over this period this year.

Moira Sheridan, Cell C acting head of corporate communications, says the operator will be far less reliant on roaming as it continues to expand its capacity for voice and SMS traffic. She says one million SMSs were sent between Christmas and New Year last year. "However, in the past year our subscriber base has more than doubled to over 2.6 million. We are therefore expecting an increase of more than four to five times the number of SMSs."

IT Web