Rain announces ambitious 5G rollout plans

Rain announces ambitious 5G rollout plans

Rain, an operator that offers a data-only 4G and 5G service to a number of South African cities, has announced ambitious coverage growth plans for its 5G network.

The operator’s aim is to accelerate its 5G network rollout to cover an estimated 5,000 new households each day for the rest of the year, according to South African tech website MyBroadband. That’s more than one million more households by early 2022.

Rain already covers approximately three million households in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town and is planning to expand its 5G coverage into Durban and a number of smaller towns.

In September 2019 Rain was the first operator to launch a commercial 5G service in South Africa, though this was non standalone. Its 5G network has since been upgraded to 5G standalone which, Rain says, has further improved 5G network performance with increased data rates, lower latency, and improved reliability.

But there’s still a 4G service, and selected 4G customers can now enjoy a limited offer that lets them upgrade to 5G without an increase in price – a relief to those customers that have been complaining of slow speeds. However, download speeds and streaming on the new upgrade will be restricted.

Rain seems to have been a victim of its own success, having experienced a rapid increase in subscribers after the South African lockdown last March. While it was, arguably, caught out by the issues caused by the rush of new subscriptions and the effect of this on service levels, it does appear that the company is now addressing speed problems.

In particular extra capacity on its 5G network has allowed the company to make the upgrade offer to 4G subscribers with slow speeds.