Michael Jordaan takes MXit lessons to Rain
While MXit was popular in the feature phone market, it failed to recognise the transition to smartphones
Michael Jordaan has had one experience in the telecoms sector he’d rather forget.A few years ago he was chair of MXit, which aimed to be a domestic competitor of messaging services such as WhatsApp. The problem was that while MXit was popular in the feature phone market, it failed to recognise the transition to smartphones. "The messaging market was winner takes all, so it was clear after two board meetings it was time to pull the plug," he says.Jordaan has made a more serious foray into telecoms through Rain, this time investing his own money. He became an investor and director of the business in 2014. Rain was started when the family trust of former FirstRand CEO Paul Harris bought spectrum which had been allocated to Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) — the only significant spectrum not held by the cellphone network operators. WBS owned the iBurst and Broadlink offerings.Harris says nobody else saw the value of this spectrum five years ago, and nobody was talking yet about a 5G ne...