South Africa: Rain Introduces 5G Network

Rain has revealed that it will be launching its 5G network in South Africa, with the aim of offering  “ultra-broadband” services to home and small business users.
The company presented the technology it will use to roll out its 5G services in South Africa at an event at its Cape Town offices.
Rain demonstrated the 5G New Radio network technology which it will be deploying in addition to its existing 4G network.
Francois Olivier, the Head of engineering at Rain said that they plan to launch 5G services during Q1 2019. This will ensure that Rain is prepared when 5G user equipment starts becoming more widely available in 2019.
Rain will kick off its 5G network on higher-frequency radio spectrum in the 3.6GHz band – one of its already existing spectrum assignments from ICASA.
Even though this is a lot higher than the 1,800MHz and 2,100MHz used in the deployment of 4G/LTE in South Africa, Olivier said 5G New Radio allows them to offer coverage that is no different to their current 4G network.
He credits this to the beam-forming technology in the 5G antennas they plan to deploy over 2,500 existing sites across South Africa. Rain has previously expressed its interest in expanding its network to 5,000 towers within the next two years.
Olivier said that by layering its 5G network on top of the existing 4G network, they would add approximately 12 gigabits per second of total bandwidth to each individual site.
This means that the capacity on Rain’s sites will increase from 300Mbps to up to 12,300Mbps. This bandwidth is to be shared between all subscribers connected to a particular site.
Rain also showcased how well the site deployed at their Cape Town offices performs.
Kgomotso Phooko, Rain’s Account Manager, demonstrated that the virtual reality demos they had running in the office used up around 42Mbps constantly.
Phooko also started a download of a few large files, which had the network running at approximately 335Mbps.
In addition, the Account Manager also revealed the 5G terminal device used for their demos. While the demo device is large, the routers that will ultimately be sold to the public will be much smaller.

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