Customers on Rain’s 5G premium package are accusing the operator of throttling their connection speed – a claim the company vehemently denies.
Rain launched its Unlimited Home 5G Premium package in September 2019, promising “unlimited” and “ultra fast” 5G download speeds for R999 per month.
The company is also offering a more affordable Unlimited Home 5G Standard product with speeds throttled to 30Mbps and limiting streaming to 720p.
The high-end package is clearly aimed at people looking for a service without any limitations in speed and streaming quality.
In recent months it emerged that throttling may, however, take place on its premium 5G products.
Tests by MyBroadband show that speeds on Rain’s premium products were significantly slower when using a VPN.
These tests were conducted after MyBroadband received numerous complaints about VPN throttling on Rain’s network. The test results substantiated user complaints.
Rain would not comment on whether it is throttling VPN traffic on its network.
MyBroadband has now received further complaints that the company may be limiting download speeds, even without using a VPN.
One user provided screenshots and pictures which showed strange speed limiting on some devices.
He initially received excellent speeds of around 500Mbps after signing up when the service became available in his area.
He is located 700 metres from the Rain tower to which he connects with line-of-sight between the Huawei 5G Outdoor CPE router and the tower.
His speedy performance would not last. His connection speed degraded heavily during the lockdown in 2020.
He subsequently contacted Rain to fix the issue. The operator sent a technician to his address, who brought another router along for testing.
It should be noted that this router’s model number and installed software matched the user’s own.
Performing speed tests using the new router produced far better results – with download speeds of between 400Mbps and 500Mbps.
Speed tests using the customer’s own router, however, continued to produce results of around 100Mbps.
This image below shows two of the speed tests performed around the same time using the different routers.
What is curious about this case is that the two routers were located in similar positions, with both having clear line-of-sight to the Rain tower.
The photos below show the two routers and the Rain tower.
The technician then switched the SIM cards between the devices to see whether the issue was related to the user’s package in particular.
However, the customer’s own router continued to record speeds below 100Mbps, while the test router posted results above 400Mbps.
They also tried to use a new customer router out of the box to see whether this made a difference. This router achieved similar speeds to the customer’s device and could not reach speeds close to that of the testing router.
The technician was unable to clarify what was causing the issue.
The fact that the slow speeds were repeatedly recorded on the customer routers while the test router showed excellent speeds, the customer argued, proved that Rain was throttling speeds on his router.
He added that other Rain users in his building had a similar experience, with speeds sitting at around 100Mbps.
To further support his case, he performed speed tests at another Rain 5G Premium user’s location using the test router.
While this user previously only recorded speeds of between 30Mbps and 40Mbps, he was getting over 400Mbps using the testing router.
Rain denies throttling
Commenting on the accusations of speed throttling, Rain said it does not throttle the speeds on routers assigned to customers.
Rain told MyBroadband its network was managed to ensure all customers received good experiences in line with their product selection.
The company’s Chief of Networks and Operations Officer said he has personally been in contact with the customer about the issue and identified a change in radio conditions as the culprit.
“This is due to the topography of the area and could be the result of new 5G sites going up in the area,” Rain stated.
“A team of senior engineers have been dispatched within the next 24 hours for further investigation and to check the installation.”
Rain did not respond directly to a question over what maximum speed users of the Unlimited 5G Premium package should expect.
While Rain’s website initially claimed the service would provide speeds of up to 700Mbps, it later amended this figure to 200Mbps.
After the latest update to its site earlier this year, however, Rain no longer provides an actual number for expected speeds, and simply states users can expect “ultra-fast” speeds.