At MWC 2019 local service provider Rain has announced that it has launched the first 5G commercial network in South Africa in partnership with Huawei.

This move would make South Africa one of the first countries in the world to launch 5G, with Rain slating a rollout of the network by mid-2019, with areas of Johannesburg and Cape Town being the first two metropoles to receive it. 

With Huawei’s end-to-end 5G solutions, Rain will be able to build the 5G network using its 3.6GHz spectrum, the company has explained. In the first phase of rollout, Rain has already deployed a number of new base stations in Johannesburg and Cape Town. 

Huawei and Rain execs following their 5G network announcement at MWC 19.

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

Apart from deploying new base stations, Huawei’s says its solutions will enable Rain to fully leverage its existing LTE network and allocated spectrum for 5G deployment, the Chinese firm says.

“It is an important step working with Rain to build the first 5G network in South Africa. With our solutions, we are committed to working with operators to build future-oriented networks that will give them the maximum value from their investment and give their customers the best user’s experience,” Shi Jilin, president of Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line.

According to their plan, Rain will continue to cover major areas in South Africa with 5G networks, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, with a specific focus on services to homes and enterprises.

In September, Rain expects to release 5G products and plans to further promote 5G-enabled applications in terms of industry video, remote driving and smart manufacturing. For now, there is no precise detail on pricing for packages with the company expected to release more information closer to the mid-2019 rollout.

“Rain is very optimistic about the business prospects of South Africa’s 5G network, and will continue to invest more in 5G networks and better serve users,” concludes Roos.