• Migration to Digital in South Africa

    Energy and Utilities | Case Study

Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality is located in East London, South Africa. Its electrical department is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the Electrical Reticulation System for East London, Mdantsane, Bhisho and King William's Town areas.


The electrical department was using a mid-band analogue radio system which had been in service for many years and was difficult to maintain and to repair due to the lack of spares available. The system comprised of a mix of brands of analogue equipment, repeaters, mobiles, base stations and portables. The control room was utilizing base stations on various channels and the required area of operation was limited.

Due to the increasing size of the metropolitan, additional staff and equipment were required to carry out the maintenance and repairs. The existing analogue system could not provide more user capacity as there are too many group conversations as well as individual conversations. At the same time, with more employees, communication and management efficiency are becoming more critical and important for the department.

Their challenge is to find a digital two-way radio system that could supply more than a new walkie talkie. They required a control room with dispatching software with recording and GPS function.


A Hytera partner supplied a Hytera DMR conventional network with an advanced dispatching & tracking solution for the department, along with DMR VHF Repeaters, PD785G portables and MD785G mobiles. This digital radio solution makes communications also possible in places where their analogue radio system does not work.

A site has a digital and an analogue repeater back-to-back connected in order to communicate with sub-contractors who are still using analogue radios. This is easily solved by two DMR repeaters, one in digital mode and the other in analogue mode.


  1. The Hytera DMR solution has greatly improved the clients' operation efficiency. GPS-supporting terminals help to organize the reaction time of technicians and in turn saves costs.
  2. Clients can see easily where their technicians are at all times by using the Hytera Dispatch System, which also avoids unnecessary dispatches and improves work efficiency.
  3. The Hytera Dispatch System's recording and reporting functions greatly improve the way the clients conduct their daily businesses.
  4. With the IP multi-site connections, all the repeaters compose a much larger communications range, ensuring the technicians to communicate throughout the whole area.
  5. The back-to-back solution operating in different modes between the same repeater models greatly supports the department to smoothly upgrade from the existing analogue system into the digital era. During this process, digital radios can talk back to analogue radios, which saves time and costs significantly.

“The system has allowed us to incorporate all our communications systems, namely our telephone systems and radio systems, into one console that allows all staff to deal with all radios and telephone calls on one platform, thereby avoiding using multiple systems separately.”

Dean Trollip, Technical Project Manager
Electrical Department

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