Rain customers have complained of low speeds and intermittent connectivity on their 5G packages in recent weeks.
Rain claims users of its Unlimited Home Premium 5G package can expect average download speeds of over 200Mbps, and the Unlimited Home Standard 5G product is throttled to a maximum download rate of 30Mbps.
However, multiple users have not been able to achieve these speeds on their 5G connections and have turned to various platforms in recent weeks to voice their discontent.
Many of these users contacted MyBroadband over the last few weeks, complaining about connection speeds dropping to around 1Mbps at times.
Customers have also flooded Downdetector with complaints of intermittent and slow connectivity, as well as an apparent inability to reach Rain support.
Complaints on Downdetector described a wide range of problems experienced by Rain 5G users from all over South Africa.
Customers said despite their routers showing they had solid 4G and 5G reception, their Internet connections were down.
“I am connected with full signal on 5G, but absolutely zero Internet,” one user stated, while another said, “I have a good connection on 4G and 5G but no Internet”.
A third user said his ping was noticeably high although he had sufficient signal.
“Signal great but no Internet connection and ping of 3,946 on their 5G network in Fourways JHB,” the user said.
Complaints of this nature were common, with users from Pretoria and Johannesburg describing this same issue.
Several users were infuriated by Rain’s seeming inability to keep customers informed of connectivity problems.
“What annoys me the most is that they don’t have the decency to post on their website that they are having problems in an area, like most ISPs,” one user stated.
“What kind of ISP doesn’t allow you to log and track a support ticket?” another asked.
Average speeds below 1Mbps
The issue appeared to be particularly prevalent among users in the Pretoria North area, with customers from Mayville, Mountain View, Rietfontein, Villeria, and Wonderboom South reporting intermittent losses in connectivity in the past week.
Several Rain Standard and Premium 5G customers from these suburbs told MyBroadband their connections were completely offline for the majority of the day.
One user from Rietfontein said he has been having problems with his 5G connection for several months.
“Took the 5G Unlimited package at R999 in January 2020. Worked for a few weeks, then things started going wrong from February and have not recovered – in fact, it has only gotten worse.”
“Connection drops every few minutes. Average speeds are below 1Mbps, even though in some cases I have full 5G signal. For the past month (April and May 2020) the service is unusable,” he said.
He noted that connectivity had been particularly bad since 13 May and said the downtime meant many businesses who were operating from home in his area through a Rain 5G package were unable to continue working.
He had to resort to using expensive mobile data from another network to stay online.
Issues with support
Rain recently discontinued its website chat service and email channels for complaints, which allowed users to get quick support for their queries.
Users must now log their issues via its new dedicated support page, something which upset several of the customers who spoke to MyBroadband.
“It’s understandable if there is a technical problem, but the biggest frustration is that one cannot talk to Rain, and they don’t respond to problems which are logged,” another user from Rietfontein said.
“Each one of us has submitted over 10 faults on Rain’s website, but you hear nothing from them,” he added.
Another customer told MyBroadband he only received a response from Rain more than a week after logging a ticket.
However, the response only asked him to rate the service he received regarding his issue, something he was unable to do as he was still awaiting actual feedback from Rain regarding the problem.
Rain CEO Willem Roos told MyBroadband they were “acutely aware” of the complaints pertaining to the 5G network, and in particular issues experienced in the Pretoria North area.
He explained there had been a configuration error on the network, which was causing the intermittent connectivity, and said the operator had made a lot of progress in solving the issue.
Roos said despite the issues experienced during lockdown, the network maintained average download throughput speeds “easily exceeding” 200Mbps.
“Even though we have added a significant amount of users during the lockdown, there remains significant capacity on the network,” Roos noted.
“Unfortunately, we have let ourselves down with the technical issues we are currently experiencing, and the team is working around the clock to fix it.”
Roos explained Rain discontinued its website chat and email channels in order to streamline the complaints process and minimise repeat queries.
“Given the surge in volumes during lockdown, together with moving our whole contact centre to work from home, we have no doubt experienced challenges,” Roos stated.
Roos apologised for the poor service and noted it was “clearly unacceptable”.
“We can at this stage only ask for clients to be patient as we work through each issue,” Roos added.
Shortly after Roos’s first response was received, he notified MyBroadband that Rain was confident the problem had been found and solved.
He cautioned, however, that certain users may still have issues.
“There may of course still be folks that are not in good radio conditions, and as such may not have a good connection, but the overall performance of the network KPIs in Pretoria North (as well as in other areas) have dramatically improved,” Roos stated.