2Africa subsea cable, Middle East and North Africa – update

Image of engineers on the Berbera beach connecting the 2Africa cable to the landline network.

Engineers on the Berbera beach connecting the 2Africa cable to the landline network

Photo by 2Africa

27th January 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
2Africa subsea cable.

The subsea cable will interconnect Europe, eastward through Egypt and the Middle East through Saudi Arabia, with 21 landings in 16 countries across Africa.

Project Owner/s
The project is a partnership between China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and West Indian Ocean Cable Company.

Project Description
The 45 000 km2 2Africa will be one of the world's biggest subsea cable projects.

The subsea cable will deliver much-needed Internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, and supplement the fast-growing capacity demand in the Middle East. It will also underpin further growth of fourth-generation (4G) and fifth-generation (5G), as well as fixed broadband access, for hundreds of millions of people.

A 37 000-km-long cable system will deliver more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables currently serving Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180 Tbps on key parts of the system.

The 2Africa cable will implement a new tech­nology, Spatial Division Multiplexing, or SDM1, from Alcatel Submarine Networks, which allows for the deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs instead of the eight fibre pairs supported by older technologies, introducing much greater and more cost-effective capacity. The cable will incorporate optical switching tech­nology to allow for flexible management of bandwidth.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
Not stated.

Planned Start/End Date
The project was launched in May 2020, with the system expected to go live in 2024.

Latest Developments
The 2Africa subsea cable has landed at the Vodacom network facility in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape, marking the third landing on the coast of South Africa of the world’s largest submarine cable system.

The first submarine cable landing in the Eastern Cape, for which Vodacom is the designated landing partner, follows the two recent landings in Yzerfontein and Duynefontein, in the Western Cape, by MTN GlobalConnect in December 2022.

The 2Africa East cable system, of which the Gqeberha branch is part, will go live and be ready for service by the fourth quarter of 2023.

In the Eastern Cape landing, Vodacom provides the facilities for the cable’s installation at an existing site in the Summerstrand area.

It is expected to accelerate connectivity, allow for greater Internet capacity and help to develop telecommunications networks across the Eastern Cape and surrounding provinces.

The cable system’s landing in the Eastern Cape will also offer the potential for much-needed regional job creation in sectors that rely on direct international connectivity, such as data centres, call centres and software development, further contributing to local and national socioeconomic development.

The 2Africa project underpins the further growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access by providing improved connectivity for underserved and rural areas; and network resilience from the Eastern Cape to the rest of South Africa.

Key Contracts and Suppliers
Alcatel Submarine Networks (cable construction).

Contact Details for Project Information
2Africa Cable email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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