South Africans now have three mobile network providers to choose from if they want to enjoy 5G connectivity – Vodacom, MTN, and Rain.
Rain was the first to introduce a 5G product in South Africa back in November 2019, and was followed by Vodacom and MTN in 2020.
Vodacom launched the first mobile 5G network in the country in early June and was followed by MTN later in the same month.
While mmWave 5G has been able to hit a top speed of 1.8Gbps, all of the providers operate their networks on sub-6GHz spectrum.
While typically only capable of providing around 100Mbps-400Mbps for download speeds, this type of 5G requires fewer installations than mmWave 5G to offer adequate coverage.
Their current achievable speeds make them an attractive alternative for those who want high broadband speeds but don’t have fibre available in their area yet.
Rain claims its Premium 5G package offers speeds up to 200Mbps, whereas Vodacom says its 5G network will offer 150Mbps-200Mbps given enough spectrum.
MTN’s 5G offering comes in two variants, both of which claim peak speeds of 500Mbps, with average speeds as indicated below:
- 5G home Wi-Fi – 100Mbps
- 5G mobile – 50Mbps
We’ve compared the coverage and prices of Vodacom, MTN, and Rain’s 5G networks and packages below.
If you are lucky enough to have coverage in your area, you will require either a 5G-capable router or smartphone to use the network.
Since 5G networks are still very limited in terms of reach, it would make more sense to opt for a router which will be kept in one location.
Both Vodacom and MTN offer 5G packages with routers on either 24- or 36-month contracts, while Rain provides a free-to-use router on its month-to-month 5G products.
When it comes to data allocation, only MTN and Rain feature uncapped 5G packages, although it should be noted that the former comes with a 200GB fair usage policy (FUP).
MTN’s uncapped 5G package is priced at R1,249 on a 24-month contract and R999 over 36 months, while Rain charges R999 for its Premium Uncapped package.
The table below shows all of the 5G packages available from these three operators that are bundled with a 5G router.
|5G data packages in South Africa|
|Mobile network||Router||Anytime Data||Night Data||Price|
|Vodacom||Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway||100GB||100GB||R899 x 24|
|200GB||200GB||R1,199 x 24
R999 x 36
|300GB||300GB||R1,299 x 24
R1,099 x 36
|400GB||400GB||R1,499 x 24
R1,299 x 36
|Huawei 5G CPE Pro||100GB||100GB||R1,199 x 24|
|200GB||200GB||R1,499 x 24
R1,199 x 36
|300GB||300GB||R1,599 x 24
R1,299 x 36
|400GB||400GB||R1,799 x 24
R1,499 x 36
|MTN||ZTE MC801A||75GB||75GB||R749 x 24
R599 x 36
|Uncapped (200GB FUP)||Uncapped||R1,249 x 24
R999 x 36
|Rain||Huawei 5G CPE Pro Indoor router||Uncapped||Uncapped||R679|
|Huawei 5G CPE Pro Outdoor router||Uncapped||Uncapped||R999|
Vodacom’s 5G network initially went live at 20 sites across Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.
These 20 sites grouped into six clusters – Midrand, Sandton, Menlyn, Centurion, Waterfall/Sunninghill, and Century City – as shown in the images below.
Click here to view Vodacom’s network coverage map for a more detailed overview of where its 5G is available.
MTN’s 5G network encompasses 100 sites in four areas – Bryanston and Honeydew in Johannesburg, Blouberg in Cape Town, and Universitas in Bloemfontein.
The images below illustrate the exact coverage areas of MTN’s 5G network.
For a more detailed overview, click here to view MTN’s network coverage map on its website.
Rain’s 5G network covers the largest number of areas of the three operators.
It currently offers 5G in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town and plans to further expand its footprint in metropolitan areas.
The dark blue spots in the images below show where Rain’s 5G is available, and the light blue colour indicates LTE coverage.
To check if you have coverage at your specific address, you can view the Rain coverage map here.