Is this the cheapest data package in SA?

11 June 2018 - 10:59 By Naledi Shange
Image: 123RF/sam74100

Has South Africa's call for #DataMustFall been answered?

Well‚ it's raining data through South Africa's new 4G network‚ which is offering 1GB of data for a mere R50. The network‚ called Rain‚ was launched last week.

For R250 a month‚ users have unlimited mobile data‚ except from 6pm to 11pm‚ when it costs 5c per megabyte.

"Customers will only pay for data they have used at the end of a month. There are no contract lock-ins‚ no bundles and no regular monthly fees. Data will never expire and customers will never have to pay expensive out-of-bundle rates‚" Rain promised in a statement.

"At any time‚ a Rain customer will be able to set and manage their SIM's spend-limit‚ ensuring that they never experience bill-shock‚" it added.

It is seemingly quite easy to join the network. Customers can order up to three SIMs‚ give each a unique name and they'll be delivered straight to your door.

Billing 5c per megabyte‚ what could possibly be the catch? Rain's offering is data-only and does not provide traditional voice services. However‚ the company said that customers will be able to activate data-based services such as WhatsApp‚ Facebook Messenger and Skype on their phones and make calls to other users on the same services.

To make things easier‚ Rain has some dual SIM smart phones on offer‚ which will allow users to add SIM cards that allow for traditional voice services. The company said it was currently connected to 2‚100 towers in metro areas and intended to expand to over 5‚000 towers over the next three years.

At the helm of the network is Willem Roos‚ the founder and former CEO of short-term insurer‚ Outsurance. 

Some of the investors in Rain include African Rainbow Capital‚ the financial services firm started by billionaire Patrice Motsepe.

It's not all been smooth sailing. Prospective customers signing up for the offer have experienced delivery problems.

Acknowledging this‚ the company said: "We're currently experiencing very high demand and have been overwhelmed by the response. We are working around the clock to deliver SIMs. You are welcome to place your order by visiting our site. You can expect a delay of about 2-3 days. Hope to see you on board! Thanks."