South African mobile data-only operator plans 5G expansion

JOHANNESBURG, June 12 (Reuters) - Rain, the mobile data-only network operator, expects to accelerate the installation of 5G towers to 1,500 in larger metropolitan areas in South Africa by December 2021, African Rainbow Capital Investments (ARC) said on Friday.

Rain, in which ARC owns a 27% stake, established Africa’s first commercial 5G next generation network in partnership with China’s Huawei Technologies in 2019.

South Africa’s fifth mobile operator, which launched its 5G network in the Gauteng province in September, had 447 5G towers up-and-running by the end of April.

ARC said the mobile operator is making good progress with its strategy and has shown continued growth in clients and data usage during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rain had 5,500 active live 4G sites at the end of April, thanks to an infrastructure and services agreement with Vodacom , providing “a significant proportion of rain’s revenue,” ARC said in its investment update. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Alexander Smith)