Rain, a local telecoms company famous for its data-only mobile SIMs, announced the launch of South Africa’s first commercial 5G network at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
This was done in partnership with Huawei, who provided twenty 5G base stations that have been used to cover the “main districts” of Cape Town and Johannesburg with 5G signal.
Rain Group CEO Willem Roos says; “The network will provide fibre-like speeds without the installation complexities, time delays and cost of laying fiber in under-serviced areas.”
The Huawei technology that underpins it also means Rain can use its existing LTE network and allocated spectrum to roll out its 5G network quickly, and without incurring unnecessary expenses.
5G is the next evolution of the connectivity technology that connects the world’s cell phones. It’s faster than 4G and supports more devices, and an essential step towards keeping the world communicating as the number of connected devices explodes in the coming years.
It is, in fact, the perfect future-enabler: prevailing wisdom has it that “5G can therefore support approximately 1,000 more devices per meter than 4G could“.
This means it can support growth in the number of mobile devices in South Africa, no matter how high that number climbs.
It’s also brilliant news for any country looking to drive growth, and dovetails nicely with President Ramaphosa’s SONA 2019 announcement of the appointment of Presidential Commission on the 4th Industrial Revolution. The Commission will “…ensure that we effectively and with greater urgency harness technological change in pursuit of inclusive growth and social development.”
Compatible phones coming soon
MWC has seen the announcement and launch of several 5G-capable phones. Many of these will be hitting the country very soon.
The line-up includes Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G, Huawei’s Mate X, and LG’s V50 ThinQ. More are on the way, and pundits believe “…that by the end of 2019, 5G will have well and truly arrived on the scene”.
Bring the Rain
Rain plans to roll its 5G network out to more cities, with coverage planned for Durban in the near future.
Other local network operators will follow suit, of course. But right now Rain’s in the clear lead, which will almost certainly boost the appeal of its data-only product offering that’s attracting consumers with a flat 5c/MB rate.
“Rain is very optimistic about the business prospects of South Africa’s 5G network, and will continue to invest more in 5G networks and better serve users,” Roos concludes.
What does this mean for partners?
5G is still in its infancy and its impact on countries and specific industries is yet to be ascertained. The overwhelming sentiment from connectivity experts is that it is a vital step towards a sustainable future.
And for our partners? We bring 5G up as something to keep in mind when recommending products to customers. Especially when 5G-capable phones offer faster connectivity, lower latencies, and improved battery lives over their 4G counterparts. Benefits everyone can get behind, in other words.
Tarsus Distribution will have access to Samsung’s latest phones on request when they come out, which you can read about here.