Rain taking the fight to Vodacom and MTN with new mobile products
Last week, Rain unveiled its new rainOne products combining mobile and fixed-wireless plans and offering mobile voice calls for the first time.
Along with its new mobile product, Rain has announced the launch of a fully-fledged 4G mobile network.
Rain has signed a roaming deal with Vodacom to launch a 4G mobile network with voice services and ensure its subscribers have national coverage.
Rain is building its own network infrastructure and using Vodacom to handle “coverage gaps” where it does not have a footprint.
Calls on Rain’s network rely on voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology, and it offers an Android app for devices without VoLTE.
Rain has essentially launched South Africa’s fourth mobile operator, taking on Vodacom, MTN, and Telkom with mobile voice and data products.
Many experts questioned whether there is space for a fourth mobile operator considering Cell C’s challenges since it launched in 2001.
Cell C no longer operates its own mobile network infrastructure and relies on MTN for a “virtual radio access network” and a Vodacom national roaming agreement.
Cell C previously explained that building and maintaining a mobile network is too capital-intensive for a smaller operator and does not make business sense.
Rain CEO Brandon Leigh is confident they will not go the same route as Cell C despite being a fourth mobile network operator in a competitive market.
He told The Money Show that when Cell C launched over twenty years ago, it was a very different market where voice was the main revenue driver.
“It was a voice-centric market; interconnect was the name of the game, and market share was very important,” Leigh said.
He said today’s data-centric market makes it easier for a new mobile operator to take on established players.
“We don’t believe that because the first batsman [Cell C] went out for a duck, we will as well,” he said.
“We are very confident in our strategy. We feel that we can offer products and services that match the requirements of today.”
Leigh said having their own infrastructure allows them to manage their cost better and create more attractive products.
Leigh greatly respects Vodacom, MTN, and Telkom as competitors but said they focus on their customers and products instead of looking at the competition.
“Yes, we have competitors, but we are not nervous about them. Having a competitive landscape is good for consumers,” Leigh said.
“It is a difficult industry, but we are proud to be in it. We have been successful to date and are confident that we will continue to be successful.”