Telkom network freeze: What it means for your festive Zoom parties, remote get-togethers

As the year draws to a close, a second wave of the Covid-19 virus will keep many families apart during the festive season. Many foreign residents won’t be crossing borders to go home for the holidays, owing to border closures and Covid-19 testing requirements. Even families who live in the same town are choosing to avoid gatherings to protect their elderly and vulnerable loved ones from a recently discovered, strain of the virus which spreads more easily. During the pandemic, many South Africans have relied on video calls to stay connected to social circles and their families.  Rival Vodacom reported that local data usage surged 86% in the six months to September this year. Telkom says it will halt all network expansion over the holiday season and it doesn’t anticipate increased demand for data over the period. MyBroadband’s Jamie McKane looks at what the network freeze will mean for current and prospective customers. – Melani Nathan

Telkom to implement network freeze over the festive season

Telkom has stated that its network is ready to meet the demand for mobile data traffic these holidays. The operator will therefore not need to roll out additional infrastructure to meet demand in certain areas and it will continue with its regular freeze of network expansion over the holidays.

“Over the festive season Telkom implements a network freeze except for fault repairs,” the mobile operator told MyBroadband. Telkom said it does not anticipate any significant increase in mobile data demand across the country, but certain holiday destinations may see increased demand.

“We don’t see any significant increase nationally however we do expect spikes in the coastal areas as people go on holiday,” Telkom said.

It added that it has already upgraded its network to meet demand over the national lockdown, and these improvements will be more than sufficient to meet a potential spike in data usage.

“Our network is ready for the increased demand largely due to the network upgrades we did during the lockdown period.”

Read also: Telkom CFO jumps ship to join rival firm MTN

Network freeze

Telkom’s network freeze means that it will halt any expansion of mobile infrastructure over the festive period, although it will continue to maintain its base stations and cellular hardware.

“Our teams will be on standby during the festive season to ensure our customers have a good network experience,” Telkom said.

Fault repairs will continue to be conducted to ensure that connectivity remains uninterrupted.

It should be noted that Telkom has also been provided with temporary spectrum to accommodate the surge in mobile data traffic over the lockdown, and it continues to use this spectrum to deliver improved network performance.

A potential consequence of a network freeze may mean that new applications for migrations, shortcode issuances, and other administration processes will be delayed until January 2021.

Read also: CEO Sipho Maseko on Telkom’s ‘crock of nonsense’ past

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