Huawei Partners with SA Telco, Rain to launch Africa’s First Commercial 5G Service
South African telecom company, Rain, has recently launched a commercial 5G wireless home broadband service. This makes them the first telecommunications operator in Africa to commercialise the 5G broadband.
Speaking on the launch of the new uncapped 5G broadband, Rain chief marketing officer, Khaya Dlanga said the new 5G offers unlimited ultra-fast internet at speeds up to 700Mbit/s.
“Rain 5G for home offers unlimited ultra-fast Internet. You will get speeds of up to 700Mbit/s,”Khaya Dlanga, Chief Marketing Offiicer Rain
Rain revealed that the wireless 5G service is aimed at home broadband users and is only available in certain areas in Johannesburg and Pretoria for now. It plans to expand to Cape Town, Durban and other major metros by 2020.
Dlanga said that over the next few weeks more homes will gain 5G services allowing everyone to stream without worrying about data usage.
“In the next couple of weeks, Rain will open up the offer to all homes and small businesses within the coverage area of Johannesburg and Tshwane. The state-of-the-art 5G home router will connect all your family’s devices with the latest Wi-Fi (technology), allowing everyone to stream as much as they like without worrying about data usage.”Khaya Dlanga, Chief Marketing Offiicer Rain
Huawei leading the 5G drive
Huawei has invested more than $4 billion and a decade in the development of the technologies behind its 5G equipment. The advancement and result achieved have made Hauwei undisputedly a 5G champion.
Huawei’s role in the global 5G market was thrown into question when it was blacklisted by the U.S. government banning major U.S. tech companies from trading with them.
However, in a recent twist, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told the Economist that the company was willing to share with western buyers despite receiving the brunt of U.S. trade war with China.
This means that Huawei is open to having rivals as buyers will have access to Huawei’s existing 5G patents, licences, code, technical blueprints and product knowledge for a one-time fee.
In February, Rain revealed that it had partnered with Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant and leading 5G company, to help develop its 5G infrastructure.
According to the company, the new 5G network it has built uses technology from China’s Huawei together with its spectrum allocation in the 3.6GHz radio frequency spectrum band.
5G Implementation in Africa
In Africa, 5G’s major benefits like better support for connected devices and the development of smart cities are not major priorities. Countries like Nigeria are just reaching a broadband penetration of 40%.
According to Jumia’s mobile reports, Angola has about 16% 4G adoption with South Africa being over 18% and Nigeria having a minute 4% adoption rate.
MTN Group CEO, Rob Shuter, even acknowledged that the 3G network is the most relevant for the market in Africa at the moment.
Rain, one of the youngest telecom operators in South Africa, has no existing 2G and 3G infrastructure to maintain.
“Rain is very optimistic about the business prospects of South Africa’s 5G network and will continue to invest more in 5G networks and better serve users,”Willem Roos, CEO Rain
And so, naturally, it makes sense to utilise the opportunity to leapfrog established mobile operators, like MTN and Vodacom, who are unable to launch 5G services until they get access to more spectrum.
The infrastructure required to develop 5G tech is expensive. The added requirement of new spectrums to upgrade to the latest broadband means not many oldies are in a rush to upgrade to the 5G technology.
Vodafone Tanzania recently announced an expansion of its 4G services. Many telecoms across West Africa have prioritised efforts to onboard customers to 4G using promos and commercials before venturing into the new 5G broadband.
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