MTN South Africa, in partnership with a consortium, have landed a 45,000 kilometre subsea cable in South Africa, part of plans to build a subsea network to connect African countries to Europe and the Middle East.
Africa’ big economies have a fast growing population of internet users, with growth fuelled by rapidly expanding mobile broadband networks and affordable smartphones. But the continent still lags behind the rest of the world in internet connectivity.
“Data traffic across African markets is expected to grow between four and five fold over the next five years, so we need infrastructure and capacity to meet that level of growth and demand,” MTN Group Chief Executive Ralph Mupita said in a statement.
The subsea cable project called 2Africa will go live in 2023. The subsea cable infrastructure will directly connect countries around the African coast to Europe and the Middle East.
MTN subsidiary MTN GlobalConnect said the landing for the cable was in Yzerfontein and Duynefontein, in the Western Cape province of South Africa and the subsea cable system will support the western and eastern sides of Africa once complete in 2023 and 2024 respectively.
Subsea cables are the backbone of the internet, carrying 99 percent of the world’s data traffic.
The consortium includes MTN GlobalConnect, China Mobile, Meta, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, Mauritius-based infrastructure provider WIOCC and Saudi Arabia’s center3.
The cable, with a design capacity of up to 180 TBps, will deliver internet capacity, and improved internet performance across large parts of Africa.
For MTN GlobalConnect, this landing is the first in a series of six across five countries: South Africa (two), Sudan, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana.
“Our target, which is underpinned by MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy, is to rollout a total of 135 000 km of proprietary fibre by 2025, generating up to US$1 billion in revenue,” MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita said.