South Africans have a love/hate relationship with the data-only mobile operation, Rain. Its data is by far the cheapest available option, while its network is fairly unreliable sometimes. In addition to that, its customer service is questionable at the best of times, but people still like the idea of paying just R50 for a Gig.
It’s Raining towers
Following its recent valuation, as published in the African Rainbow Capital Investment interim financial results for the six months leading up to 31 December 2020, Rain announced some interesting plans. As we know, the operator was the first in the country to roll out commercial 5G in 2019, and now it aims to be the first to erect 2,000 5G towers.
“Rain is aiming to become a full-service mobile network operator, focusing on data as a primary offering,” said ARC Investments in the document accompanying the results. This is an interesting take that could point to it offering airtime in addition to its mobile data options. It’ll put them right in the midst of more stringent competition, the likes of Vodacom and MTN.
“Its 4G expansion has progressed well, with nearly 7,000 active live sites as at the end of December 2020. Rain launched a 5G network in September 2019, making South Africa one of the first countries in the world to deploy this new technology. By 31 December 2020, 685 5G towers have been activated and the aim is to increase this to 1 150 towers by February 2022. Ultimately, more than 2 000 5G towers in larger metropolitan areas throughout South Africa are planned…” the statement continues.
The timeframe isn’t completely clear, but it looks like the operator plans to erect its 2,000 5G towers by 2023, if the above proves to be true. The plan will be a great addition to the current South African network infrastructure, which is lackluster, especially outside major metros, where even 4G is scarce sometimes.