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4G/5G

Rain debuts standalone 5G network in Cape Town

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Rain, a South African data-only network, has launched its first standalone 5G network in Cape Town. Powered by Huawei, Rain claims the launch is the first commercial standalone 5G network in Africa, and among only a few networks of its kind globally.

Rain's network now provides 5G in the Mother City's suburbs of Sea Point, Claremont, Goodwood, Bellville, Durbanville and the Cape Town city center.

The newly released standalone 5G network is built on Rain's own sites, it said. This allows Rain to significantly enhance its fixed wireless broadband (FWA) service experience in the covered areas.

"Standalone 5G will further improve 5G network performance with increased uplink rate, lower latency, and improved reliability, ushering in high-end cloud VR and cloud gaming services, more diversified enterprise and home broadband services," Rain's chief marketing officer, Khaya Dlanga, said in a statement.

Rain is, however, not new to 5G. The operator launched a commercial 5G-based FWA broadband service in parts of Johannesburg and Tshwane back in September 2019 and had a few 5G sites up and running in Cape Town and Johannesburg from early 2019.

"Standalone 5G will demonstrate how 5G is powerful in realising South Africa's 4IR future. Powered by Huawei's global leading 5G solutions, our Standalone 5G will enable the industries digital transformation in the future, such as smart healthcare, smart ports, smart mining and smart manufacturing in South Africa," Dlanga added.

He said that Rain plans to work with a "trustworthy strategic partner" to further expand its 5G coverage in SA.

The 5G race has been heating up locally: Last month MTN debuted its own 5G network across 100 sites in South Africa and in May, Vodacom also launched 5G in some areas in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.

Rain has two unlimited 5G plans on offer, the standard one which offers speeds of up to 30 Mbit/s or the premium one which will give speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s.

Rain has however recently come under fire for its slow 4G network. In a report from MyBroadband Insights, Rain was ranked as South Africa's slowest network with an average download speed of just 10.64 Mbit/s, compared to the fastest network, MTN which had an average download speed of 52.28 Mbit/s. Rain's average download speed decreased by 30% between the first and second quarters of 2020.

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