South Africa’s newest data network provider, rain, is planning to deploy a fifth-generation (5G) broadband fixed-wireless network to support government’s drive for competition, lower data prices and improved access in the telecommunications industry.
Teaming up with partners Huawei and Nokia, the group will use its current allocated spectrum and leverage its existing long-term evolution (LTE) network to build the 5G network using 3.6 GHz spectrum.
Rain chairperson Paul Harris initially announced the plans at the South Africa Investment Conference held last Friday.
The company has, over the past 18 months, been deploying a fourth-generation LTE-Advanced data network covering metropolitan areas, culminating in its official launch in June and becoming the only mobile network to focus solely on data offerings, thereby reducing the price for consumers to connect to the Internet.
The network currently boasts in excess of 2 500 towers, with plans in place to expand this to 5 000 towers over the next two years.
Rain’s new 5G network will provide ultra-broadband services with fibre-like speeds to homes and small and medium-sized enterprises, without the installation complexities, time delays and costs of laying fibre in under-serviced areas.
Rain’s 5G network will, in time, cover a range of new applications, such as the Internet of Things, smart cities and self-driving vehicles.
Further, early access to 5G networks will give the existing South African technology industry and new start-ups a head start to become leaders in applications that can be used domestically and exported internationally.
“Rain is determined to be at the forefront of the evolution of 5G networks globally. It will be demonstrating its 5G network running live in Cape Town from November 12, which will cover areas such as virtual and augmented reality; the impact of 5G on education; the social and economic implications of 5G for South Africa; and the engineering behind 5G,” Harris commented.