MTN Group, Telecom Egypt, Telkom South Africa, others to construct new submarine cable system

MTN Group, Africa’s leading telecoms operator, Telecom Egypt, Egypt’s incumbent telecommunications operator, and Telkom, a leading communications services provider in South Africa, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the intention of constructing the new “Africa-1” submarine cable system.

Africa-1, which will leverage the latest state-of-the-art 100G technology, will have at least 3-fiber pair core that extends more than 12,000 km along Africa’s East Coast towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, with up to an additional 5,000 km for branches.

It will be initially equipped to accommodate several terabits of capacity from day one.

Along with comprehensive interconnection with other cable systems and full Open Access at all cable landing points, Africa-1 will be technically and commercially designed to be attractive, delivering easy accessibility and a unique low-latency direct express route.

Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Egypt, Mr. Tamer Gadallah said, “The addressable market of African wholesale bandwidth customers is more promising than in many other regions. The weakness of the continent’s international bandwidth is due to the lack of new systems coming into Africa to enhance the competitiveness of the African market,”

He added, “Africa-1 system has a superior cost base and a state-of-the-art design that will enable it to be the most competitive system coming to serve this diversified market.”

The Construction and Maintenance Agreement is expected to be signed by June 2016, with a target ready for service timeframe of the third quarter of 2017.

PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider, and Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the largest telco in the Middle East and North Africa, also signed the MOU and will join in the construction of Africa-1.

The five telcos represent a wealth of experience and expertise in deploying major cable systems. They all have access to landings at all major cable systems in the Middle East, which will facilitate efficient and effective connectivity between Africa-1 and the rest of the world.

Other telcos are expected to join in the construction of Africa-1 and share in its success.

“Africa-1 will ensure future resiliency and capacity requirements for the explosive digital broadband future, so vital for Africa’s economic and social development,” said Mr. John Unterhorst, GM Transformation, MTN Group Technology and Information.

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