(supplied, Rain)
(supplied, Rain)
  • Data-only network provider Rain has launched its 5G network in parts of Joburg and Tshwane. 
  • Users will pay R1,000 a month for uncapped internet access. 
  • Rain said its 5G network will have speeds around 200 Mbps – compared to the roughly 40 Mbps you can expect on similarly-priced fibre lines. 
  • For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

Rain South Africa has launched South Africa's first 5G network in parts of Johannesburg and Tshwane, and it is offering prices that make fibre connections seem slow.

5G is the latest iteration evolution of wireless data standards, and promises to be roughly 10 times faster than the current state-of-the-art 4G used by cellphone networks, while also being more reliable.

Rain, the data-only mobile operator, said selected existing customers have been invited to use the new ultra-fast network with unlimited internet access for R1,000 a month. 

Other interested users can apply for 5G through Rain’s website, and will be alerted once it is available in their region. 

Also read: Why Telkom will not yet invest in 5G – and when 5G will be available at Cell C, Vodacom, MTN, and Rain

Rain’s chief marketing officer Khaya Dlanga said the company has achieved speeds of 700 Mbps during testing, but the typical client will see speeds around 200 Mbps. 

By comparison, a 40 Mbps fibre line at Telkom costs R1,199 a month, and you will pay R1,067 a month for a 50 Mbps fibre line via Afrihost

During the course of the next year 5G coverage area will be extended to Durban and Cape Town, Dlanga said.

Also read: Yes, SA data is more expensive than it needs to be, Vodacom says – and it is all government’s fault

Vodacom and MTN have both said they could launch 5G locally in 2019, but have been restricted by a lack of access to the necessary radio frequency spectrum.

Vodacom already launched a 5G network in Lesotho in 2018. 

In a policy discussion document released in August, the national treasury said data prices could decline by as much as 25% if the appropriate spectrum is released in South Africa. 

Also read: A new plan says government intervention can make data 25% cheaper within three years – here’s why that is quite optimistic

The release of spectrum, Treasury said, would reduce the cost of doing business in SA and contribute up to 0.6% in economic growth. 

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in July issued a policy directive to Icasa to release additional spectrum.

If implemented, that would be the first time in 14 years that additional spectrum is released for use, after the state repeatedly missed its own deadlines to do so.  

Icasa told Business Insider South Africa in August that the body is still “applying its mind on the published policy direction” and will only outline the process to release spectrum at a later stage.