Connecting to the future in 2024: A golden year for China Mobile International

Contributed Article 

The global connectivity landscape is undergoing a transformative evolution. A wave of highly anticipated submarine cable systems is poised to come online, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for the African continent to seamlessly integrate into the global digital ecosystem. These game-changing initiatives will deliver a quantum leap in connectivity capabilities for the region, empowering customers with the unparalleled capacity, low latency, and redundancy they demand in today’s hyperconnected world.

Demands for fast, reliable connectivity continue to intensify, driven by the widespread digital transformation underway across developing regions in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and the sustained technological innovation propelling growth in more advanced economies. The growing adoption of broadband has heightened the mission-critical importance of high-performance submarine cable in structure seamlessly interconnecting these international markets.

In response to this surging global demand, China Mobile International (CMI) has strategically invested and strengthened its terrestrial and submarine cable infrastructure. As part of the strategic buildout, four new cable systems – 2Africa, IAX, IEX, and PEACE – are targeted to launch in 2024. Together with the submarine cables that are already deployed, these new systems will create a new diversified interconnected backbone for international data traffic, especially on the Asia–Europe and Asia–MEA Region routes, ultimately delivering the mission-critical resources most in demand in the globe.

Unleashing Africa’s digital potential

Circumnavigating the entire African continent and linking it to Europe and Asia, 2Africa is set to be the longest submarine cable system ever deployed, spanning over 45,000km, with 46 planned cable landing stations and directly serving 33 countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The continent is becoming increasingly digitalised, especially with the booming use of mobile data. In the 2023 Mobility Report, Ericsson found that Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing region in the world when it comes to total mobile data traffic, with a CAGR of 33% anticipated between 2023 and 2029. As such, access to high-quality submarine cable infrastructure is imperative.

The cable is expected to be operational on the Eastern side in 2024: (Marseille)–(Djibouti), (Marseille)–(Mombasa), (Djibouti)–(Mombasa), (Mombasa)–(Dar Es Salaam), (Mombasa)–(Duynefontein, Cape Town), (Mombasa)–(Amanzimtoti, Durban) and (Amanzimtoti, Durban)–(Duynefontein, Cape Town). This is a major achievement for all the members involved and the subsea planning company!

Furthermore, the 2Africa project’s PEARLS branch will not only connect the main cable system to the Gulf region but also provide access to the entire Asia Pacific market through strategic interconnections with self-invested cable assets. This visionary future infrastructure will unlock Africa’s digital potential, ushering in new possibilities.

Diversifying global connectivity

The PEACE submarine cable offers a distinct, innovative approach to global connectivity, operating on an open-cable model to reduce network latency by adopting the shortest direct route between Asia, Africa, and Europe. PEACE announced its expansion to Singapore this year, becoming a critical Asia–Europe interconnection and the fastest route between Southeast Asia and East Africa.

Spanning 25,000km and landing in over 20 countries, PEACE is a future-focused system that diversifies global infrastructure, empowering customers with unparalleled routing flexibility and resilience to complement expansive projects like 2Africa.

Transformative IAX & IEX submarine cable system

The forthcoming India Asia Xpress (IAX) cable and India Europe Xpress (IEX) cable represent a transformative 200Tbps intercontinental data infrastructure. Scheduled for completion in 2024, these 16,000km projects will further enhance the region’s connectivity. This diversified topology enhances redundancy and unlocks a revolutionary express route connecting Europe and Asia, bypassing India when needed to optimise transport efficiency. Converging these systems will empower global stakeholders with lightning-fast, resilient connectivity across dynamic economic hubs, serving the exponentially growing digital economy.

Join China Mobile International and the rest of the submarine cable ecosystem at Submarine Networks EMEA live in London this week! Get your ticket today

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