Rain and LTE-A congestion: here’s what you can expect…

Rain,Rain network

Rain’s LTE-A network has made headlines in the local tech space lately, as ISPs offer wireless data packages via the service (in conjunction with Internet Solutions).

With prices ranging from R549 a month for 55GB to R1599 for 330GB, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal at all if you lack ADSL or fibre in your area.

However, the one major concern with wireless networks is congestion — and it’s not without precedent. When Cell C launched its HSPA+ network back in 2010, the first few months were speedy, followed by big speed and reliability issues owing to over-subscribed towers.

Then there’s Telkom Mobile, which also saw congestion issues last year as it rolled out its LTE network. The company even sought to stagger pricing at launch, with the first batch of customers paying less, and later batches paying an increasingly larger monthly fee.

Will Rain slow to a drizzle?

What does Rain say about congestion though?

“Our network coverage is growing daily but is still limited to the major metropolitan areas,” Rain director Michael Jordaan told Memeburn.

“In those areas our utilisation is still low as we have installed the most advanced LTE-A equipment available so we are not experiencing congestion at all nor do we anticipate this in the short to medium term.”

When asked to clarify the meaning of “short to medium term”, a Rain marketing representative said that Jordaan meant for “the foreseeable future”.

“The network team does not feel that congestion will be a problem at any stage as we have loads of capacity,” the representative added.

Jordaan also gave an update on Rain’s tower rollout.

“We currently have over 1400 LTE-A towers and are on track to have 2000 by the end of this year,” the director answered, saying that they also expect “at least 5000 in the three years thereafter”.



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