South Africa’s First Commercial 5G Network is Finally Live For $68 a Month

rain 5g south africa

rain 5g south africa

A South African telco has finally launched their 5G network today, becoming the first network to do so in the continent.

Rain has launched their new 5G service which will have theoretical top speeds of upto 700Mbps.

According to the company, although it will reach speeds of upto 700Mbps in ideal conditions, however in the real world, the speeds will be around 200Mbps. They are using the 3600Mhz spectrum to deploy their 5G network in the country.

The service will be available in certain sections in Johannesburg and Tswhane (Pretoria). They have close to 250 towers in the region targeting an estimated half a million households. Rain is also planning to expand their coverage to major towns like Cape Town and Durban in 2019 and 2020.

Rain is using a Non Standalone 5G network which is supported by existing 4G infrastructure. This means that 5G phones will connect to the 5G frequencies for data but will still use 4G for non-data duties.

This deployment has been on the works now. Huawei announced their first 5G commercial network in South Africa at MWC 2019 and it was being done in partnership with Rain. Back then, they said they had deployed 20 base stations and now that has quickly ballooned to 250, which is impressive in the short time.

Rain has an invitation system to purchase this 5G home internet for R1,000 a month (Kshs 7,098 or $68). The customers will order a Huawei 5G router which they’ll use to connect o 5G. The router supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard and has gigabit Ethernet ports.

It is kind of cool we are seeing the deployment of 5G infrastructure quite fast in the world. It seems like telcos have learnt from their 4G deployment mistakes and would want to cash in on 5G as fast as they can. Rain’s 5G network is not the fastest we have seen (leave that to milimetre wave 5G), but it is a good start at the fast deployment of 5G in the continent.