102 sites rolled out
Phase two of MTC's billion-dollar 081Every1 network project plans to roll-out a total number of 102 sites and is expected to be completed by September this year.
The project was officially launched in August 2017.
The chief human capital and corporate affairs officer of MTC, Tim Ekandjo, said a total of 132 sites were rolled out in phase one, exceeding the initial target of 111 sites.
“Of the 132 sites, 122 are on air and carrying traffic, 10 have civil works completed and await power energising, and three sites are running on generators,” he said. In phase two 87 sites in rural settlements will be rolled out and 15 in urban areas.
Ekandjo said despite the good outcomes, the company is still facing a lot of challenges such as a spike in vandalism of sites.
“It remains a concern and thus increasing the cost of operations and hampering service delivery,” he said.
Last year, many batteries were stolen from sites by members of the public. Ekandjo said these theft cases used to happen on a monthly basis, but now it is getting worse as almost every week a battery theft case is reported.
The unstable power supply in vast parts of the country has a direct impact on MTC's services - the company is considering the use of renewable energy but is also trying to contribute to bring the grid closer to residents by extending power lines to its towers, he said.
“MTC will continue using both grid and solar power, but we continue depending on our grid providers to supply stable power,” said Ekandjo.
The aim of the 081Every1 project is to expand MTC's network footprint and achieve close to 100% population network coverage through the setting up of 524 sites.