DURBAN – After the success of its 4G data offerings, rain activated Africa’s first commercial 5G network by making it available to selected existing customers.
This deployment of a 5G wireless data network, in certain parts of Johannesburg and Tshwane, is one of the first in the world and will help South Africa to benefit from lower data costs and the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Khaya Dlanga, rain’s Chief Marketing Officer, said, "Selected customers in rain’s 5G coverage area have been invited to be the first to purchase ultra-fast 5G, unlimited internet for only R1000 per month. rain will deliver a state-of-the-art 5G router to a customer’s home. No installation is required, the router is simply plug-and-play and it will be connected immediately. The speed and capacity of the 5G network, together with the latest WiFi 6 technology in the router, will enable rain users to stream high-definition video to multiple devices simultaneously".
rain’s initial 5G offering is to provide fast, affordable and easy to install wireless connectivity to homes and businesses as an alternative to ADSL, fibre and fixed-LTE.
In the next couple of weeks the company will open up the offer to all homes and small business within the coverage area of Johannesburg and Tshwane. During the course of 2020, the coverage area will be extended to the major metros in South Africa.
rain is leveraging its 4G data networking infrastructure in building the 5G network in its regulated 3600 MHz spectrum band. This enables rain to build a cost-effective network and limit the required additional number of sites, yet still providing wide coverage. It enables rain to reduce the cost of data for South Africans.
Dlanga said, "Access to affordable, fast broadband is key for the country to revive economic growth."
5G is the next generation wireless networking technology and offers considerable advances in speed and capacity. On average 5G can provide speeds at least 10 times faster than existing 4G/LTE networks. Dlanga notes that during testing rain has seen speeds approaching 700 Mbps in ideal conditions.
"However, in real world conditions we expect to see at least 200 Mbps for customers," said Dlanga.
In future, 5G will also power super-fast mobile connectivity for smartphones and enable the connection of millions of internet-of-things (IOT) devices. Dlanga said that rain is committed to be a key player in building the 5G and 4IR ecosystem in South Africa.
This will contribute to the country meeting its socio-economic challenges,
particularly reducing unemployment and improving education. As an example, rainis working with WITS University and Huawei Technologies to establish a 5G Innovation Lab.
"This exciting space will give young engineers a head-start in developing the new, innovative applications of 5G," concluded Dlanga.
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