Can’t get ADSL or fibre? Rain’s LTE-A service could be a good alternative

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The newcomer to the mobile data game, Rain, uses LTE to offer an alternative to fixed-line internet for homes and small businesses, and in doing so, go some way to reducing the exorbitant data costs facing South Africans each month. The company is constantly expanding its coverage and plans to broaden the range of products it offers, but at this stage Rain only offers LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) packages through selected internet service providers (ISPs).

Like your mobile phone, LTE-A uses a SIM card, but instead of putting it in a handset, it goes in a Wi-Fi router/modem. Data is then loaded onto the SIM via contract, or top-up. Why would you need an LTE-A device? They’re perfect for areas that don’t have the infrastructure for a wired connection like ADSL or Fibre. LTE-A is also great for local travellers, or digital nomads — though you’ll need a wall plug if you intend using the supplied router that comes with most Rain contracts in your local coffeeshop… which may get you some funny looks.

Alternatively, why not just get a portable modem (or “mi-fi” as they’re sometimes colloquially known), load some Rain data on it, and keep it in your pocket wherever you go? Even if you’re a heavy user, your data consumption won’t affect your pocket nearly as harshly as a monthly 5GB bundle from Vodacom.

Rain coverage in Gauteng.

The ISPs that offer Rain packages include: Afrihost, Ignite, MWEB, Webafrica, Crystal Web, Spacenet, Airband, Border Internet, BronbergWISP, Cloud Connect, HX Systems, and a few others through IS.

Package Afrihost Ignite MWEB
25GB R299 R302 R299
55GB R549 R554 R549
85GB R799 R806 R799
120GB R999 R1,008 R999
220GB R1,349 R1,361 R1,349
330GB R1,599 R1,613 R1,599
Added 1 Month free Data on SIM Only Free Huawei B618 / B315 router Free Huawei B315 router

 

Packages cost more or less the same through most of the third-party providers, the only real difference tends to be the value-adds that each ISP tacks on. Some give you a router, while others prefer to give you free data.

Coverage isn’t rolled out countrywide yet, but most urban areas have access to the Rain network — which offers up to 100Mbps upload and download speeds. If you’re on a fixed line, by comparison, Cool Ideas’ 100Mbps fibre connection will run you R1,219 a month. Which is fine for users who need an endless data supply, but if you don’t download frequently, play games online or stream 4K, you should be fine with an LTE-A month-to-month contract.

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