We have had a 10Mbps ADSL line from Telkom for quite a while now, as well as 400GB capped internet account with AXXESS. I must admit that we have been extremely fortunate with our internet service, as we have not had any major issues in the last 5 years or so. Telkom however, has been phasing out ADSL in the last 12 months or so, primarily due to high maintenance costs. Yes, this is South Africa and cable theft is a sad reality. We were due to upgrade to a Telkom wireless service instead.
Unfortunately, the roll-out of fibre has not yet reached our suburb so that is not currently an option. And despite there being coverage in our suburb, there is no actual Telkom LTE coverage on our property, go figure! So goodbye Telkom, another customer lost!
It is also important to state that we cancelled our DSTV service almost 2 years ago, and we have relied on streaming services ever since, YouTube, Netflix, ShowMax and a few others. And no, we don’t miss DSTV at all! It is an absolute waste of money! Was so tired of flipping through channels and the excessive repeats. So, with streaming we consume around 300-400GB of data per month. This makes having a stable high-speed internet, without undue data restrictions, absolutely necessary.
I had read up on RAIN 4G and was closely following the developments. Their 4G offering was very cheap (R250/month) for unlimited data, however, that was only available between 11pm and 6pm. Peak periods between 6pm-11pm was excluded and usage during this period would cost an extra R50/GB. But it was cheap. I did however read a lot of negative comments about the 4G service, so I was a bit skeptical. But this was somewhat understandable, since network congestion seemed to have caught up with RAIN due to the popularity of the offering.
And then I started researching their newly launched 5G Service, and we actually had good coverage on our property, according to their website. We were in direct line of sight to the nearest tower, which is about 300m away. R1000 per month for unlimited 5G service, no caps, no limitations?
Yes, this is substantially more expensive that their 4G offering, but not all that far from what we were paying for the ADSL line, fixed line telephone and ADSL data subscription. And the premium pricing when compared to its 4G offering, meant that network congestion should not really be an issue initially? At least I hope that was the case.
After careful consideration and research, we decided to take the plunge!
The RAIN 5G service was ordered on 11 Dec 2019 online and the sexy Huawei 5G CPE X router was promptly delivered on 12 Dec 2019. The SIM was automatically activated within a few hours and we were good to go. Order and delivery process were painless, good start so far!
The router setup was quick and simple, it’s pretty much plug and play once the sim is activated.
Once its powered on, it takes less than 5 minutes and your internet is up and running. You do however have to play around with the location in order to find the best location. There is an automatic setup process which guides you through this as well. We have it installed in a practical position, not the ideal location. But its sufficient for our needs.
First wired speed test was showing speeds over 400Mbps, which was absolutely insane, especially considering we were coming from a 10Mbps line. I then proceeded to test the wireless connection at different locations in our home, and we were seeing 150-250Mbps. Still looking good! We have various walls between the two ends of our home, so signal drop at the furthest end was an issue. But we had already planned an upgrade of our Wi-Fi, so all the Ubiquiti gear we ordered had luckily arrived, thanks to GeeWizz. I will post details on our home Wi-Fi setup in a later blog post.
So we have had RAIN 5G for over a month now! What’s the verdict?
For the last month, all our wired devices are seeing consistent speeds above 250Mbps at any given time. The wireless device speeds vary depending on where you are in the house, but speeds never really drop below 120Mbps, even at the extreme corners of the property. For a small household, we do have quite of lot of devices connected at any given point in time, so our home network is quite active for the most part.
And we have not had any issues thus far. I have read that RAIN’s customer service is lacking, but I cannot comment on that at the time of writing. Hopefully these issues to do get resolved.
And before you say it, I a fully aware that 5G should deliver much higher speeds? But again, coming from a 10Mbps ADSL line to a 250Mbps 5G service for roughly the same price, is all that should matter?
For comparative services, see below.
Telkom SmartBroadband 220GB for R999 (220GB anytime, 220GB night surfer)
MTN LTE (via Afrihost) 150GB for R750 (150GB anytime, 150GB night express)
RAIN 5G Unlimited for R1000
Fibre would be first choice of course. However, in the absence of fibre in our area, the cost vs performance of RAIN 5G over other LTE offerings cannot be argued. It is simply the best value for money offering out there. And we are truly happy with the service so far!
Check out https://www.rain.co.za/ for more info.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid or sponsored post (not that my opinions are or will be influenced differently if it were!) I am in no way affiliated to Rain. The views expressed in this post are my personal views, based on actual usage of the products and services.
Featured image: From the Huawei Website