Internet & Mobile Data Access in South Africa | Pieter Welgemoed, Rain


[Music] So, hello I’m Ray Le Maistre from Light Reading for ORB TV. We’re at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, I’m here with Pieter from Rain. So, Pieter Rain might not be that familiar a name to a lot of people in the industry, can just tell us about the company and what it does and also you’ll roll there? Thank you, Ray. Rain is a new startup operate in South Africa, we’re building and rolling out our own LTE advanced network and I’m joining them six months ago as CIO. Okay. Putting in we’ve just gone live of our new BSS support system together with our partner CSG and looking ready to launch later this year. Okay, so how long has this been planned? You know this is this is quite an innovative thing to be doing in a market that already has a number of mobile operators, there certain seems like there’s room for competition. So, what are the hopes for Rain, what what kind of business is it hoping to build up? I think you’re quite right, I mean this is idea been growing for years in our founders minds and it’s finally coming to fruition with the rollout of our network and being ready to actually go to market. I think they are still very much a lot of opportunities for us, I think one of the biggest things for me is that consumers find it very confusing with the plethora of tariffs and options out there and we really do hope to make a more simple, simple approach for them, make it more accessible and easier for them to join and get access to Internet. That simple. So, greater focus on simplification and and mobile data, basically is the… We focus, we’re focusing on data I think with the LTE advanced network we certainly want to make use of that opportunity. At the same time we are very much listening to what our consumers saying and find out ways the future taking us, how important is what type of services and what do they want to see us bundle with it or not. Okay and is Rain a company that’s focused on, or going to be focused on consumer users, always they’re an enterprise opportunity as well? We’re not trying to box it too much at the moment, many people ask that question. I think just offering data only and because we are new networks are very much focused on the urban metro areas, you sort of define that market initially and we hope to see where it grows and we an opportunity lies in the future, but, certainly I think we’re open to both areas. Ok, so as the CIO, what are the big challenges that you’re trying to overcome, sort of before launch and an at launch? What are the things that you’re really focused on? For me the biggest focus area is almost as any CIO jobs which should be, is to enable business. Often the CIO or the IT department are the ones that either too costly or take too long to take these products to market or the servicing strategies that the employees one of you have. For me is to be an enabler rather than inhibitor, make sure that we can be ready so when the marketing team wants a new package how quickly and how agile are we in turning around and delivering that fast for them to the market and enabling them to do their job. Okay, look we’re a new operator we’re not always going to get it right. So, our approach is very much an agile approach. Go to market if it doesn’t work if consumers say we want something different, we’re going to listen, we’re going to change it and for that we need to be able to respond fast. Okay and so is there actually a timetable for the launch, to when can people expect it in South Africa to be seeing the marketing starting and real services out? Absolutely! We are planning to launch our direct offering store this year and when exactly was trying to finalize the last bit of tariff propositioning but, you can certainly expect to see us there later this year. Okay, and in terms of the proposition is you know a lot of companies here even in 2018, who have a long history in in mobile services are still kind of focused on, on speed on you know, we can deliver this kind of downstream, you know speed for for mobile broadband. Is that something that Rain is gonna focus on as well or was there going to be you know differences? I think in the back end it’s is always there having an LTE advanced network, it is faster than normal LT. Yeah so certain you do have higher speeds but also remember we’re new networks. So, as we start still rollout base stations, there might be areas where we’re not there yet. And we will try and not sell in those areas and then focus on the areas that are already to give customers a good experience. I think it’s difficult a lot of focuses sometimes put on speed and how much Internet does the customer really want. I think a lot of consumers struggle with how much Internet is enough for me? Do I need 10 gigs a month, 25 gigs? And I think we should try and make a different approach, of rather make sure it is a reliable solid access to an Internet for when you need it and spend less focus on how much and how far and make sure you have a good experience and can do what you want to do at that point of time. Wither its just reading a tweet or watching a full HD video on YouTube. Okay, so you’ve been a mobile one well Congress for a couple of days, is there anything you’ve seen here that’s been where you’ve it’s been a WOW moment for you? I think I’m going to state the obvious that Mobile World Congress is about phones, connecting phones to the world and that’s really the business we in, is connecting the people of South Africa to the possibilities of the Internet. Of course the themes like internet of IoT, Smart Cities connected cause seems like a show car show that’s some way. And of course a lot of excitement about 5g, which makes us very excited cuz that’s where we’re going. And I really think we can all start thinking when we leave years, what are we going to do and we have 20 times the internet speed we have today, are we going to change our behavior, the way we store and consume data? Definitely a lot of opportunity there. Okay, well sounds like you’re in a really exciting as a Greenfield operator really exciting position to make that transition for from 4G to 5g and sure lot of other companies will be looking and seeing how Rain gets on. So, thanks very much Rain- Pieter and then and telling us all about the company and maybe next year you’ll come back and tell us what happened post-launch? Absolutely! Be really exciting so, thank you. Thank you. So, this is Ray Le Maistre at Light Reading for ORB TV and we’ve heard the story about how Rain is coming to South Africa. [Music] you [Music]

Danny Hutson

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