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 http://carrier.huawei.com/en/events/mwc2019
TikTok looks for SA talent
The fast-rising short-video platform has launched a #PickMe campaign to discover local stars.
TikTok, which claims to be the world’s leading destination for short-form videos, launches its first PickMe campaign, an effort to discover creative talents and provide a stage to express themselves in South Africa. Starting March 1, TikTok kicked off a month-long search through participants’ 15-second videos under hashtag #PickMe.
TikTok says it is committed to investing in South Africa and discovering the local talents. The PickMe campaign is supported by its local partners like Huawei, MTV Base and Digify Africa.
Local stars, including comedian and singer Lasizwe and singer Nadia Jaftha, have joined the campaign and called for users to show their talents on TikTok.
There are 5 categories of video shooting in the campaign, namely dance, acting, comedy, singing and cosmetics. Participants need to shoot a 15-second video using TikTok using #PickMe and tag @tiktok_africa to participate in the challenge. The finalists will be selected based on their video performance. The most popular and talented participants will have the chance to win prizes like Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphones, a day at MTV Base, and a once-off-presenter opportunity and attendance at an intensive video production workshop delivered by Digify Africa.
“TikTok has definitely evolved into something that everyone loves and uses. It’s given creators a space to create more unique content and also help the creator gain a whole new kind of fan base, ” says Preven Reddy, Imbewu The Seed TV-star and Megazone radio host who is also a TikTok user.
Says TikTok video creator Mihlali Nxanga: “As a young South African working towards being in the entertainment industry, TikTok has given me the platform to grow my following tremendously. Within 6 months, my fan base has grown by a whopping 90 000, and not only from South Africa, but the whole world. For me, TikTok is not just a content platform, it is a global community.”
The campaign will wrap up on March 31. The list of the finalist will be announced in the app and on official Instagram @tiktok_southafrica. For more information, please visit the TikTok app.
Rugby fan experience transformed by digital platform
The South African Rugby Federation has embraced digitalisation as a key enabler of its strategic aspirations. It has worked with Accenture to transform fan engagement for Springbok supporters with the launch of a digital fan platform.
“Digital technology and social media have transformed how modern fans watch, support and engage with their favourite teams,” says SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux. “To maintain our relevance amid this new market dynamic, and grow our fan base, we’ve acknowledged the vital need to digitally transform our organisation.”
Wayne Hull, managing director for Accenture Digital in Africa, says: “SA Rugby’s ambition to pivot to a more fan-centric strategy requires digital design, content, platforms and insights because modern consumers, including loyal Springbok supporters, engage predominantly via mobile digital channels and expect hyper-personalised experiences.”
Accenture Digital’s development process started with quantitative and qualitative research, which informed the user experience (UX) design guidelines and content strategy for the digital fan engagement platform.
“To know what fans want, we needed to understand the fans themselves,” says Hull. “The Accenture Digital team mined the research data and identified multiple fan ‘personas’, which all have different content consumption, platform functionality and engagement preferences.”
The platform development team focused on three critical elements to meet these requirements – the customer experience (CX), the engagement engine and cloud-based deployment.
“To deliver a memorable and engaging CX, Accenture Digital leveraged leading digital experience software,” says Hull. “The result is a fully integrated and responsive platform that creates seamless, personalised digital fan experiences across SA Rugby’s content, commerce and digital marketing initiatives in a manner that makes fans feel recognised and connected to the players and the game.”
The new platform will serve as the first point of call for any rugby fan who wants to get their data fix with exclusive statistics, analytics and insights. The platform’s content style will include more visual elements – videos and images – with more concise articles that are easier to digest, in accordance with evolving content consumption preferences on mobile screens. This will complement long-form thought leadership and insight pieces.
In addition, fans will enjoy exclusive access to player-related content, such as behind-the-scenes footage and game and training performance stats. SA Rugby will also benefit from the ability to track comments and mentions via the Sitecore analytics platform Accenture Digital implemented, to respond and engage in the conversations Springbok fans are having on social media about the game, the teams or the players.
To do this, SA Rugby required a consolidated view of the customer. However, data resided in disparate sites across ticketing providers and SA Rugby’s e-commerce and online magazine databases. This information will be consolidated into the CRM system, with multiple integration points available to leverage this data.
The CRM system’s functionality will help to reveal insights such as fan communication preferences and their likes and dislikes, which will place hyper-relevance at the core of SA Rugby’s fan experience and engagement strategy.
The final element in the platform development was cloud deployment, which allows fans to access the platform from any device that has an internet connection. The platform is hosted within the Microsoft Azure environment, which is stable, secure and fully redundant. It gives SA Rugby the flexibility to manage the platform themselves, with the option to integrate or scale additional functionality down the line.
Based on the outcome, Hull believes that Accenture Digital has successfully reimagined, built and delivered a world-class, modern and mobile-friendly digital fan platform that creates a fun, immersive and engaging experience for fans.
“It’s a major step towards helping SA Rugby realise its ambition to become a fan-centric, forward-looking and nimble organisation, and we look forward to building and developing the platform further with the team as their digital fan engagement requirements evolve,” says Hull