Exploring CMI's Submarine Cable Rollout: Bolstering Global Connectivity

CMI unveils four new submarine cable, enhancing global connectivity and supporting digital growth in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.Aiste Kryzanovske, VoIP Review
February 7, 2024

As 2024 unfolds, the urgency for fast, secure connectivity scales globally. The dazzling digital rise of developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, coupled with data-thirsty developed economies leveraging emerging technologies such as AI, is skyrocketing the demand for quality submarine cable infrastructure. This is essential to link these international hotspots effectively.

Strategically responding is China Mobile International Limited (CMI), pouring its resources into submarine cable infrastructure. CMI currently has four new cable systems in the pipeline – 2Africa, IAX, IEX, and PEACE – all set for a 2024 launch. Alongside their existing cable projects, this addition forms an interconnected backbone for international data traffic, bolstering transport routes between Asia and the rest of the world for years to come.

Unlocking Africa’s potential, the 2Africa cable boasts an anticipated boost of $26.2 billion to $36.9 billion to Africa’s economy within two to three years of activation, as per an RTI study. Spanning a whopping 45,000km and encircling Africa, it connects the continent to Europe and Asia. Furnished with 16 fibre pairs and a capacity of 180Tbps, it is robustly equipped to serve Africa’s connectivity needs.

Africa’s digitalisation and booming mobile data usage cannot be overstated. Ericsson’s 2023 Mobility Report identifies Sub-Saharan Africa as the world’s fastest-growing region in terms of total mobile data traffic. Consequently, this necessitates top-tier submarine cable infrastructure for countries to exploit emerging technologies and transform their local economies. Countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo bear witness to this trend, serviced by a single existing submarine cable – the West Africa Cable System (WACS), which has been operating for over 12 years.

On another front, the PEACE cable system plans a more targeted approach, covering approximately 15,000km. This route connects Marseille, France, to Karachi, Pakistan, with additional branches in Mombasa, Kenya, and Victoria, Seychelles. Embracing an open-cable model, it offers neutral, flexible interconnection services to operators, OTTs, and enterprises across regions. Since its activation in late 2022, there are plans to expand the cable further to Singapore in 2024, forming a major Asia-Europe interconnection, billed as the fastest express route between Southeast Asia and East Africa.

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