JOHANNESBURG – Rain, a leading mobile data network operator in South Africa, teamed up with Huawei to announce the commercial launch of Africa's first 5G SA convergent core network. The convergent core network is poised to provide advanced services for 4G/5G mobile subscribers and fixed wireless access (FWA) subscribers, laying a foundation for service innovation in a variety of industries in South Africa.
With the world's third highest number of 5G FWA subscribers, Rain is the first telecom operator in Africa to put 5G networks into commercial use. Since the release of the 5G NSA network in November 2019, Rain has been dedicated to delivering an ultimate service experience for its 5G subscribers. As the "Stay-at-home order" issued on this year's COVID-19 outbreak fueled the applications such as remote working and online education, Rain tapped Huawei's convergent 5G core network to provide ultra-high reliability for these applications. Leveraging the Cloud-Native based stateless design, the core network integrates 4G, 5G NSA, and 5G SA services, provides intelligent and automated O&M, and replaces the existing two charging systems with the Converged Charging solution, greatly reducing O&M costs. In addition, its unified service-based interfaces are compatible with those of traditional NEs, making it easy to migrate traditional NEs to the 5G Core, and later to the CU Full-Mesh architecture, where multiple control and user planes are fully meshed. Another highlight is its microservice architecture and DevOps approach, which ensures quick rollout of new services, accelerates experience-centric operations, and provides a diversified service experience for 5G subscribers.
Rain has always been actively exploring and promoting digital transformation of vertical industries in South Africa. The 5G SA network can better meet differentiated network requirements of vertical industries and accelerate the digitalization process. Specifically, MEC-based distributed user plane deployment at the edge promises ultra-low latency, and 5G network slicing provides differentiated and deterministic SLA assurance for various industries. The commercial launch of the 5G SA core network enables enterprises to tap into vertical markets to accommodate diversified applications in the future, including smart healthcare, smart port, smart mine, smart factory, and smart agriculture. It is helpful in advancing South Africa towards a digital society.
Through the strategic partnership, Huawei has helped Rain deploy the 5G SA core network in Cape Town and plans to migrate the network in Johannesburg to 5G Core within this year. In the future, Huawei will continue to build best-in-breed 5G networks for Rain.