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MWC: Rain first in SA to 5G

SA grabbed surprise headlines at MWC in Barcelona today with news that Huawei and Rain had built a 5G network



Rain, South Africa’s mobile data-only network operator, says it has built the first 5G commercial network in South Africa in partnership with Huawei, the leading global ICT solutions provider. This move has made South Africa one of the first countries in the world to launch 5G.

Rain CEO William Roos made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona, Spain.  He said the network is already live, with testing taking place, and they are aiming for a mid-2019 commercial launch.

Using Huawei’s end-to-end 5G solutions, Rain has been able to build the 5G network using its 3.6GHz spectrum. In the first phase of roll-out, Rain has deployed a number of 5G sites in key areas in Johannesburg.  

“The network will provide fibre-like speeds without the installation complexities, time delays and cost of laying fibre in under-serviced areas,” said Roos.

He added that Huawei had been an invaluable, trusted partner with innovative 5G solutions.

Last year, Huawei launched a full range of 5G end-to-end product solutions, from core network, the bearer network, and base station to terminals. It added commercial devices launching its 5G foldable smartphone, the HUAWEI Mate X and the HUAWEI 5G CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) Pro.

Apart from deploying new base stations, Huawei’s solutions enable Rain to fully leverage its existing LTE network and allocated spectrum for 5G deployment. This approach of sharing facilities and leveraging existing infrastructure will enable Rain to roll out the 5G network in a quick, cost-effective manner.

“It is an important step to work with Rain in bringing the first 5G network construction to South Africa,” said Shi Jilin, President of Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line. “With our solutions, we are committed to working with operators with our innovative solutions to build future-oriented networks where they get maximum value out of their investment and the best user experience for their customers.”

According to the plan, Rain will continue to expand the 5G network to cover all major metropolitan areas in South Africa with 5G networks to provide ultra-broadband services to homes and enterprises.

Roos, further noted that, “Rain is excited to build South Africa’s first large-scale 5G network, which can provide fast, wireless internet to more citizens. We are supportive of President Ramaphosa’s investment drive in the country and hope to contribute to readying South Africa for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

MWC 2019 runs from February 25 to February 28 in Barcelona, Spain. Huawei showcases its products and solutions at booth 1H50 in Fira Gran Via Hall 1, booth 3I30 in Hall 3, the Innovation City zone in Hall 4, booth 7C21 and 7C31 in Hall 7. For more information, please visit