In a bid to strengthen internet connectivity for the continent, MTN South Africa and MTN GlobalConnect, in partnership with the 2Africa consortium have announced the landing of the 45,000km subsea cable in Yzerfontein and Duynefontein in the Western Cape, South Africa.
Going live this year 2023, the 2Africa landing is one of several cable landings taking place across 46 locations in 33 countries. The 2Africa subsea cable system is designed with a system capacity of up to 180 Tbps on 16 fiber pairs on key parts of the system, invested and built by the 2Africa consortium comprising China Mobile International, Djibouti Telecom, Meta (Facebook), MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company (stc), Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC.
Recall, 2Africa was announced by Meta (Facebook) in May 2020, with a long list of high-profile backers including MTN GlobalConnect, Vodafone, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Saudi Telecom, China Mobile International, center3 and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC).
The system is expected to go live on the western side of Africa in 2023 and on the east coast in 2024 via 46 landing locations in 33 countries.
For MTN GlobalConnect, this subsea cable landing is the first in a series of six across five countries: witg two landing in South Africa and one each in Sudan, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana. This will allow MTN GlobalConnect to showcase, in a tangible manner, the importance of connectivity and creating cross border networks, that connect Africa to the rest of the world. The planned 2Africa cable route, which will stretch over 45,000km when complete.
“Strategic partnerships such as the one we have with the 2Africa consortium will help us accelerate and deepen Internet adoption and socio-economic progress across the African continent. Data traffic across African markets is expected to grow between four and five fold over the next 5 years, so we need infrastructure and capacity to meet that level of growth and demand,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita.
The 2Africa subsea cable landing comes just months after Google’s Equiano subsea cable – which will connect South Africa to Europe along Africa’s west coast – also landed on SA shores.
“The initiative complements our terrestrial fiber strategy to connect African countries to each other and to the rest of the world. We are building scale infrastructure assets to meet the explosive growth in data traffic and accelerate the digital economy on the continent, by creating a pan-African fiber railroad driving affordable connectivity,” added MTN GlobalConnect CEO Frédéric Schepens.
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MTN has set a target to rollout a total of 135,000km of proprietary fiber by 2025, generating up to $1 billion in revenue and “entrenching MTN as the number one African fiber player, by building subsea and terrestrial scalable capacity and resilience.”
South African service providers will be able to acquire capacity in carrier-neutral data centers or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis, MTN said.
This will support the development of a healthy internet ecosystem by facilitating improved internet accessibility for businesses and consumers alike.