By: Mpho Shelile

In commemoration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, Vodacom Lesotho (VCL) launches a state-of-the-art cell tower in Ha Tšepe on May 17th 2024.

The tower enhances connectivity in underserved areas of the country.

The new tower is part of VCL’s broader strategy to improve access to reliable mobile services across the region. The initiative supports various sectors, including agriculture, health services, and education, by providing critical connectivity that bridges the digital divide.

The project aligns with VCL’s commitment to transforming from a traditional telecommunications company to a technology company (tech-co), focusing on innovative solutions and digital inclusion.

The Honourable Minister of Information, Communications, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Nthati Moorosi, calls upon the local community to protect the newly installed cellular tower from vandalism. “Let it be known that the misappropriation of such equipment serves no benefit to anyone. It is not compatible with any household appliances and will only result in damage,” she articulates.

This cautionary advice underscores the futility of theft and the potential harm it could cause to personal property.

Hon. Nthati emphasizes that the tower is not just a structure, but a pivotal tool in combating crime. It facilitates prompt communication with law enforcement, allowing residents to report any unlawful activities swiftly and effectively, thereby safeguarding their villages.

Tšepo Ntaopane, the Executive Head of External Affairs and Regulatory at VCL, highlights the multifaceted advantages of the newly installed cellular tower for the local community. Beyond enabling voice calls, the tower is a gateway to a host of essential services.

It facilitates M-Pesa transactions, ensures the timely distribution of old-age pension payments, and supports the sale of Mocha-o-Chele. It is also instrumental in enabling online learning for students, among numerous other opportunities.

Ntaopane calls on the community to act as guardians of this vital infrastructure. He warns that any act of vandalism potentially hinders the development of similar facilities in other areas.

The Ha Tšepe base transceiver station is set to significantly improve network coverage and signal stability, benefiting Ha Matoli, Thaba Phatšoa, Ha Tobolela, Ha Tsae, Ha Tente, Ha Mosuoane, Ha Mokhachane, Lipetu, Likileng, and Ha Tšepe.

It is outfitted with cutting-edge technology and has a robust capability to manage both voice and data communications. Powered by solar energy, this tower is built to endure extreme weather conditions, guaranteeing dependable service for users.

Principal Molipa Maseko, representing the schools in the region, extends heartfelt gratitude to VCL, the Government of Lesotho (GoL), and all contributors for their pivotal role in the establishment of the cell tower at Ha Tšepe.

He underscores the tower’s significance, noting its potential to greatly enhance the educational experience of students and serve as a valuable resource for the wider community.

Boiketlo Polumo, a student, expresses that the new tower will significantly improve communication with his parents who work in South Africa. He is optimistic that the enhanced connectivity will also boost his educational pursuits by providing unrestricted access to learning applications thus enabling him to conduct research at any given time, free from the constraints of inconsistent networks.

This project was funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the African Development Bank (ADB), reflecting a significant investment in digital infrastructure to promote greater digital inclusion in Lesotho.