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Rain, Huawei jointly launch 5G network in South Africa

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2019-02-27 16:14
Willem Roos (left) CEO Rain and Shi Jilin (right), President of Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line, toast to the partnership launch of first 5G Mobile Data Network in South Africa. Provided to China Daily.

A South African mobile data-only network operator has beaten Kenyan and Nigerian operators in the 5G network rollout race, according to reports from the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

At the 2019 Mobile World Congress, Rain, South Africa's mobile data-only network operator, announced it had launched 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 to launch 5G.

On the continent, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria have been leading mobile network innovators, maintaining head to head rollout of 3G, 4G and related high-speed network solutions.

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

Willem Roos, chief executive officer of Rain, said the network will provide fiber-like speeds without the installation complexities, time delays and cost of laying fiber in under-serviced areas.

Huawei launched a full range of 5G end-to-end product solutions, from core network, bearer network and base station to terminals in the beginning of 2018. The company also launched 5G phones at MWC 2019.

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 and cost-effective manner.

Shi Jilin, president of the Huawei Cloud Core Network product line, said it is an important step to work with Rain in bringing the first 5G network construction in South Africa.

"With our solutions, we are committed to working with operators with innovative solutions to build future-oriented networks for smooth evolution and migration for the maximum value out of their investment and the best user experience," she said.

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

Roosfurther noted Rain was 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," he said.

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