Consumers always benefit when new players enter the market to shake it up and deliver services that hadn’t been available before. Rain, partially owned by Patrice Motsepe, is now offering uncapped 4G / LTE internet access for R479 p/m.
CEO Willem Roos said Rain “accelerated the go-live date” for the 24/7 unlimited 4G data offering in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and demand from consumers for internet access at home. “Those whose job allows them to work remotely should find the product a great help as it will remove the anxiety of uncertain, potentially high data costs,” he added,
This new product will give users uncapped access to their 4G network at any time – different to previous offerings – but will be have throttled speeds of 10Mbps. While this is more than enough for most people and most possible uses, they have applied an additional restriction on video streaming speeds. Video streaming will be capped at 360p resolution – not a problem for most, but it excludes the possibility to stream content on a good resolution for content consumption. That being said, most YouTube videos will look fine for most at this resolution.
Data prices have been exorbitant in South Africa for a long time, especially from the big four telecoms companies. While others have tried to penetrate the market, few have been successful. Luckily, through many years of legal actions and Supreme Court consultations, the industry is finally being forced to bring prices in line with at least the rest of Africa. Vodacom will now lower their data prices by 30%, as an example.
Other pressures felt by the telecoms industry has come from broadband and fibre providers. As a result, wireless providers have had to adjust their offerings. And now, with providers like Rain, Afrihost and others we can hopefully rely on cheaper mobile data costs in the market as a whole. Cheaper data will lead to the democratisation of information, which will lead to a better local society.