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Rain announces fully-fledged 4G mobile network

The operator, 20.3% owned by African Rainbow Capital Investment, said Friday that it had started South Africa’s first 4G data only network in 2018 and the country’s first commercial 5G network in 2019.

But after acquiring spectrum from the government in the 2022 auction, rain’s 4G network has a more comprehensive reach, the company said in a statement.

“This has now positioned rain to enter the market as a full mobile network operator, thus becoming the fourth telco after Vodacom, MTN and Telkom, with a network that offers national coverage in voice, SMS and data.”

An online search reveals that Rain has some way to go to get near the scale of its competitors.

Vodacom has some 45.7 million subscribers in South Africa, MTN about 35.9 million, Telkom 18.6 million, Cell C 13.4 million, while rain, which does not divulge subscriber numbers, is understood to have about 1 million data subscribers.

Earlier this year Rain and Telkom had discussed a potential acquisition of Rain, but the talks were later terminated. Now Rain has decided to expand on its own.

Brandon Leigh, CEO of Rain, said the expansion of Rain’s network indicated that “we are serious about being a major player in the mobile market as well,” Reuters reported.

On Friday, along with the launch of the new fully-fledged mobile network, Rain also launched ‘Rain One’, a product combining mobile and fixed-wireless plans, offering uncapped data, free monthly calls plus data for two phones, and a fixed-5G connection for R559 per month.

Cell C does not operate its own mobile network infrastructure, relying on MTN for a “virtual radio access network” and a Vodacom national roaming agreement..

Rain said the combination of its mobile 4G and fixed-5G networks had enabled it to offer a package with both home and mobile coverage.

“Our 4G and 5G networks are highly efficient, providing seamless, plug and play, 5G streaming and now high definition 4G voice calls. And because we don’t have to maintain legacy 2G and 3G networks, we are more cost effective and therefore able to offer significant value to the end user.”

“Rain is now combining home and phone into one plan, branded Rain One,” it said in a statement.

“Now customers can connect all their devices with one monthly bill.”

“Rain One includes unlimited 5G home Wi-Fi, plus free monthly calls and data for two phones, each with 2GB of free data and 60 minutes of free, high-definition voice calls every month,” it stated. IOL

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