When Rain launched its mobile products on 6 June 2018, consumers welcomed the new operator to the market.
Rain offers users a single plan of 5c per MB, which works out to R50 per GB, and users only pay for the data they use.
An even more attractive value proposition is Rain’s unlimited data add-on, which provides 19 hours of uncapped mobile data usage per day for R250 per month.
Rain also launched a promotion which allows subscribers to experience unlimited data usage for between 15 and 90 days after joining.
Thousands of early adopters took advantage of Rain’s launch promotion and ordered SIMs and device bundles.
What followed for many users, however, was an unpleasant experience – with delivery problems, slow SIM activations, poor customer support, and network issues.
Certain users who ordered their Rain packages on launch day, and who were promised delivery on 8 June 2018, are still waiting for their SIMs and devices – without clarity on when these packages will be delivered.
Using Rain’s customer support channels are not particularly helpful, with script-based answers leaving customers uncertain about the progress of their orders.
To gain insight into the challenges facing Rain, MyBroadband spoke to the company’s chief operating offer Kartik Mistry.
Rain SIM deliveries
When Rain launched mobile deals, it partnered with the on-demand delivery service Sendr to get SIMs to clients.
When Rain realised Sendr would not be able to handle the volume of orders, it switched to RAM as a courier partner.
Mistry told MyBroadband the move from Sendr to RAM “required further integration”, which has caused a delay in SIM deliveries.
The delay means many Rain customers who ordered their products nearly three weeks ago are still waiting.
Rain CEO Willem Roos said on 18 June 2018 they were confident their backlog of SIM deliveries would be resolved by 22 June. This did not happen, however.
Mistry has now said they expect the delivery backlog to be cleared by this week.
Mistry said their SIMs are activated within 24 hours of delivery. “By law, we do have to wait for RICA confirmation from the courier before any activation can take place,” he said.
However, many Rain subscribers have waited days for their SIMs to be activated after receiving them.
Mistry said the delays are caused by the switch in courier services, and that they are now processing RICA and activations manually.
“With the higher-than-expected volume of orders, some users are experiencing a delay in SIM activation,” he said.
Rain is currently building a better system for SIM activations, and “expects that this will be a short-term issue”.
Poor customer support
With the struggle to receive and activate their SIM cards, many Rain customers turned to the company’s support channels for help.
They reported long waiting times – both for online chat support and the call centre – which did not help matters.
Mistry said they have subsequently increased capacity in their call centre to help curb the long waiting period.
“Necessary recruitment and training was required to take place before we implemented this increased headcount,” he said.
“The long waiting period for support has been caused by the activation and delivery issues mentioned above.”
To complicate matters further, Rain started to experience slow upload speeds on its network last week.
On Friday afternoon, following an article by MyBroadband on the network problems, Rain customers were informed the operator was investigating an issue affecting upload speeds.
The image below shows the Rain network’s average upload speed (in kbps) over the last two weeks, based on results from the MyBroadband Speed Test platform.
Rain reacting to teething problems
Mistry said the problems detailed above are of concern to Rain, and have been a result of “some initial teething problems”.
“Rain conducted adequate testing before announcing our launch, however, some of these issues only surface when we went live,” he said.
“We definitely feel the issues can be resolved, in the short term. To recognise that our customers are walking this journey with us, we will be refunding their R120 SIM and delivery fee.”
“We will also give our customers unlimited data for June, on us. What this means is their unlimited data days will only start counting from 1 July 2018, even though they can still enjoy the benefits in June.”
Rain accepts it has not met all expectations. “However, we will always endeavour to ensure that we respect our customers, listen to them, and improve our business processes,” said Mistry.