Rain plans to launch a mobile 5G product within the coming year, according to Johan van Zyl, co-CEO of shareholder African Rainbow Capital (ARC).
Van Zyl also provided more details on Rain’s plans to add to its fixed 4G and 5G offerings during an interview with MyBroadband.
He explained that Rain’s mobile 4G product has always been somewhat supplementary to the network operator’s primary products — its fixed wireless Internet offerings.
“It’s really limited the mobile offering that we’ve had. It’s always been sort of supplementary, simply because we have the capacity for it.” Van Zyl said.
“But we would really like to add to that and do 5G mobile as well.”
He added that South Africans could expect Rain’s 5G mobile product in early 2023.
Regarding fixed 5G, Van Zyl explained that despite increased competition in the market, Rain’s market share hasn’t dipped.
“If you look at the terabytes that we’ve been moving into these fixed places, it’s been quite substantial,” he said.
Van Zyl also said that, despite its newly acquired spectrum not yet being available, Rain plans to add to its fixed wireless Internet capabilities.
“We now have access to the spectrum and the best way for us to really start using the additional spectrum that we’ve acquired, although it is not available yet, is to add to our fixed [wireless], which is mainly 4G and 5G,” he said.
“A big part of that is leveraging our existing network, but also getting roaming agreements in place with others.”
He added that Rain had made “quite a bit of headway” in that regard.
The lower-frequency spectrum Rain bought at auction has yet to be vacated by broadcasters due to delays in South Africa’s digital migration project.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) concluded its long-awaited spectrum auction — involving Cell C, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, MTN, Telkom, Vodacom, and Rain — on 17 March 2022.
Rain took home 40Mhz in total, 20Mhz of which is in the 700Mhz band, with the remaining 20MHz being in the 2.6GHz band. It spent R1.4 billion acquiring the high-demand spectrum.
During ARC’s annual financial results presentation earlier this week, Van Zyl said Rain would be a “player of note” in fixed and mobile broadband.
“We already have substantial market share in the fixed space. We had a bit of a run-up front where we didn’t have much competition regarding 5G.”
“There are now several competitors, but we haven’t seen demand for our products decline,” he added.
Van Zyl’s words were in response to a question regarding the recently published Telkom acquisition statement Rain was ordered to retract.
He said that, as a minority shareholder in the mobile operator, he could not provide specific details on Rain’s intentions regarding Telkom.
ARC will provide more details when the time is right, he assured.