Rain to switch off 4G network for 5G users

Rain will be switching off 4G network capabilities on its 5G packages in the coming months.

A MyBroadband reader on Rain’s 5G Standard package was recently contacted by a customer support agent who told him that 4G connectivity would be unavailable on his 5G package soon.

The agent explained because the customer’s address was located on the edge of the 5G coverage area, Rain wanted to ensure his signal was optimised before the change was implemented.

The agent therefore recommended that a technician swap the indoor router and install an outdoor router on the customer’s premises free-of-charge.

This was intended to allow for the best possible connection to the nearest 5G tower, which would negate the need to use 4G.

The customer accepted the offer and was also provided with further instructions to optimise his router’s settings and placement.

Switch to standalone 5G

Rain recently announced it had switched all 5G customers in Johannesburg and Pretoria from a non-standalone (NSA) to a standalone (SA) 5G network.

Non-standalone network architecture relies on an active 4G or LTE connection to provide more speed and data bandwidth. This means that users connected to NSA 5G are actually using both 4G and 5G network hardware.

Standalone 5G networks do not have any 4G connection and are completely independent. This means that all traffic from the 5G client is transmitted over the 5G network.

At the time, however, Rain told MyBroadband the 4G network would remain as a fallback option for 5G customers.

This was because many of Rain’s 5G towers did not have backup batteries to keep customers connected during power outages or load-shedding.

Rain response

Rain CEO Willem Roos confirmed to MyBroadband that they will be disabling the 5G router’s functionality to connect to 4G “over the next couple of months”.

Roos said this formed part of the transitioning of its 5G network from NSA to SA architecture.
“There are significant benefits to SA, from better stability, increased upload speeds, and lower latency,” Roos explained.

“This should ensure a better experience for clients, as we have seen instances where the router would connect to 4G and ‘camp’ there.”

Roos added that Rain was investing in its base station infrastructure to ensure that the majority of its 5G network towers remain up during periods of load-shedding.

It will also be able to remotely change the router configuration to connect to 4G should this be required, Roos added.

“These changes will be done transparently to customers,” Roos said.

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Rain to switch off 4G network for 5G users