Rain, South Africa' first data-only mobile network, launched its first standalone 5G network in the country in partnership with Huawei. This is not only a first for Rain but also for the continent as well.
The newly released network are built on Rain's own sites which allows them to have better control over its fixed wireless broadband (FWA) service experience in the covered areas.
Rain was able to make this standalone dream happen through its partnership with Huawei’s Converged Core Solution and Massive MIMO technologies.
Standalone versus non-standalone
Non-standalone 5G relies on 4G facilities to provide more speed and higher data bandwidth. This means that a 5G-enabled smartphone will connect to the 5G or 4G network depending on the conditions of the two.
A standalone 5G network doesn't rely on this 4G connection. It is a true 5G network with dedicated 5G facilities.
The benefit of a standalone network is it provides better performance, and lower latency than a non-standalone network. It also supports advanced network-slicing functions and mobile edge computing(MEC).
The downside is that if the connection fails, there is no 4G backup for the smartphone to link to.
For the launch, the standalone network is only available in Cape Town, making it a much smaller reach than the 5G network launches of MTN and Vodacom.
However, more suburbs have access to this new network than its competitors.
These include: Sea Point, Claremont, Goodwood, Bellville, Durbanvill, and Cape Town City Centre.
This limited scope makes sense as Rain, being a new network player in the country, only has coverage in Cape Town and Gauteng.
No prices were given for the new network.
Rain's Standard and Premium 5G offerings come in at R699 and R999 with a free Huawei router.