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2Africa subsea cable lands in South Africa’s Eastern Cape

23 Jan 2023

To be able to grow and digitise, every country needs access to online services.

What most people don’t realise is that subsea cables carry the vast majority of the world’s inter-continental data, powering the internet. As such, they are integral to the connectivity value chain and can increase internet capacity to meet the current and future demands of growing digitalisation in Africa, while catalysing economic growth.

What is 2Africa?

The 2Africa subsea cable is the largest subsea cable system in the world.

Launched in May 2022, the project aims to significantly increase the capacity, quality, and availability of internet connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world.

When it is completed in 2024, the cable will run along the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean and Red Seas, directly connecting 19 countries in Africa and 33 countries in total.

Measuring 45,000 kilometres in length, the cable system will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia) and Africa.


A first for Eastern Cape

This week it landed at the Vodacom network facility in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), South Africa.

This is the first submarine cable landing in the Eastern Cape region, promising greater internet capacity and acceleration of connectivity across the province and supporting South Africa’s growing digital economy.

The Gqeberha landing is the 2Africa project’s third on the coast of South Africa, following two recent landings in the Western Cape.

Once deployed, businesses and consumers will benefit from improved quality, reliability, and lower latency for internet services, including telecommuting, high-definition video streaming and advanced multimedia and mobile video applications.

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.

Africa’s digital future

The system now has four landings in South Africa and two each in Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt, so a total of 27 landings in Africa and 46 landings in total.

Delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, 2Africa will provide much-needed internet capacity and reliability across much of the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Africa, supporting the growth of 4G, 5G, and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.

This latest 2Africa cable landing affirms Vodafone and Vodacom’s commitment to driving digital inclusion in Africa by increasing access to quality internet services and investing in the network infrastructure to support this goal.

Working with the consortium partners, we’re enabling more communities to access transformative online resources, from education and healthcare to jobs and financial services, and experience seamless connectivity's economic and social benefits.

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

Learn more about our work in subsea cables.

Find out more about the 2Africa cable.

About the 2Africa cable system

  • At 45,000 kilometres in length, it is the largest subsea cable system in the world.
  • It will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia) and Africa, covering 19 countries in Africa and 33 countries in total.
  • Design capacity of 180 Terabytes per second (more than the combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today).
  • The 2Africa Consortium includes eight international partners, China Mobile International, Meta (Facebook), MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, center3 (stc), Telecom Egypt, Vodafone/Vodacom and WIOCC.
  • Manufactured and deployed by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN).
  • An RTI study predicted the economic impact of 2Africa to be between US$26.2 billion to US$36.9 billion (~€24.1 billion to €34 billion), equivalent to 0.42-0.58% of Africa’s GDP, within two to three years of becoming operational.
  • Due for completion in 2025.

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