Rain plans big 5G expansion in South Africa

Rain aims to greatly accelerate the rollout of its 5G network in South Africa, according to an investment update issued by African Rainbow Capital (ARC).

In its update, ARC said that Rain has been making good progress with its network rollout and has shown continued growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rain is making good progress with the roll-out of its strategy, which is to establish a data network in metropolitan South Africa,” the company said.

“With the onset of COVID-19 and the resultant national lockdown, the business experienced strong growth in clients and data usage.”

ARC said that Rain had 5,500 active 4G sites in South Africa as of the end of April 2020, enabled by its infrastructure agreement with Vodacom.

“Rain has an infrastructure and services agreement with Vodacom that has enabled the rapid growth of the 4G network,” ARC said.

“Vodacom roams on the Rain 4G network, providing a significant proportion of Rain’s revenue.”

Big 5G expansion planned

Since launching its commercial 5G network, Rain has rolled out its network across metropolitan areas in South Africa.

As of the end of April 2020, Rain had 447 5G towers in South Africa – a number which it aims to increase to 1,500 by December 2021.

This would require a greatly accelerated network rollout on behalf of Rain relative to its previous rollout pace.

“Ultimately more than 2,000 5G towers in larger metro areas throughout South Africa is planned, bringing ultra-fast broadband connections to homes and small businesses at affordable cost,” ARC said.

Plans for Durban and Cape Town

Rain recently told MyBroadband that it aims to launch a 5G network in Cape Town by the end of the year.

Currently, Rain 5G is only live in Gauteng.

“We are working around the clock to get the 5G network live in Cape Town and we hope to launch well before the end of 2020,” Rain CEO Willem Roos said.

The timeline for the launch of a 5G network in Durban is more uncertain, but Rain hopes to also achieve that within the year.

The map below shows the current coverage of Rain’s 5G network in Gauteng.

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Rain plans big 5G expansion in South Africa