African Rainbow Capital (ARC) co-CEO Johan van Zyl has provided details on Rain’s latest subscriber numbers, which paints a positive outlook for the mobile operator.
ARC holds a 20.7% shareholding in Rain that the company values at R3.111 billion, which means it the mobile operator’s total valuation is R15.03 billion.
Rain is the largest contributor to ARC’s intrinsic portfolio value of R11.139 billion, which means there is a strong focus on the performance of the mobile operator.
ARC has traditionally not released any financial or subscriber information about Rain, but this has now changed.
In a presentation to shareholders, van Zyl revealed that Rain has seen a big spike in sign-ups since the lockdown started.
He said before lockdown, Rain signed up between 10,000 and 20,000 new mobile and 5G subscribers per month.
With the strong demand for data services during the lockdown, Rain’s sign-ups jumped to between 60,000 and 80,000 per month.
Van Zyl said Rain is currently maintaining these higher subscription rates, which bodes well for the operator.
What is particularly impressive is that the average revenue per user (ARPU) nearly doubled to around R400 per month during the lockdown.
Rain’s other prominent revenue stream – its roaming agreement with Vodacom – has also seen good growth.
Van Zyl said data traffic on Vodacom’s network increased by around 30% during the lockdown.
He said Rain provides a “big chunk” of this data through roaming, which means it roaming revenue increased significantly.
This growth has helped Rain to run profitably over the past few months – something which was only expected around two years down the line.
Improvements to Rain’s network and customer service
The rapid growth in the number of subscribers has resulted in some consumers complaints, especially from people who fall outside the coverage area.
Van Zyl said they recognise that the performance problems cause anxiety among affected subscribers.
He said Rain is actively addressing these complaints, which include investing in its network rollout.
Rain had 5,500 active 4G and 447 active 5G sites in South Africa as of the end of April 2020, with plans to increase its footprint to 5G 1,500 sites by December 2021.
Ultimately more than 2,000 5G towers in larger metro areas throughout South Africa are planned.