African Undersea Cables

Update June 2016 (Version 45)
French version now available.  Cliquez ici pour la version française.

Sub-saharan Undersea Cables in 2018 - maybe (version 45)

Please contact me if you’d like a copy of the map in SVG format.

For a history of African undersea cables, have a look at animated gif history. If you’re interested in seeing how these cables are changing access, Stanford University’s PINGer project is monitoring the impact of Seacom and other east coast cables as they come online. Also check out the UbuntuNet Alliance’s map of terrestrial fibre in Africa. Finally, for a more comprehensive look at undersea cables, check out Greg Mahlknecht’s cablemap.info or Telegeography’s Submarine Cable Map.

Undersea Cable Ownership

Seacom

The Seacom cable is owned by:

  • Industrial Promotion Services (25%), an arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (USD 75 million)
  • (Kenya – founded by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV of Pakistan)
    VenFin Limited (25%) – USD 75 million)
  • Herakles Telecom LLC (backed by Blackstone) (25%), New York-based lead company, no website (USD 75 million)
  • Convergence Partners (12,5%) – USD 37.5 million
  • Shanduka Group (12.5%) – USD 37.5 million

EASSy

EASSy is 90% African-owned although that ownership is underwritten by a substantial investment by Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) including World Bank/IFC, EIB, AfDB, AFD, and KfW. Total DFI investment is apparently $70.7 million, with $18.2 million coming from IFC, 14.5 million from AfDB. This is a smaller amount than the originally advertised $120 million investment from DFIs.

South African investors in EASSY include Telkom/Vodacom ($18.9 million) , MTN ($40.3 million),  and Neotel (~$11 million).

WIOCC, an SPV created to facilitate open access is the largest shareholder, with 29%.  WIOCC consortium members include: Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Dalkom Somalia, Djibouti Telecom, Gilat Satcom Nigeria Ltd., the Government of Seychelles, the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority, ONATEL Burundi, Telkom Kenya Ltd., Telecommunicacões de Mocambique (TDM), U-COM Burundi, Uganda Telecom Ltd., Zantel Tanzania and most recently, TelOne Zimbabwe and Libyan Post, Telecom and Information Technology Company (LPTIC)

Other investors in the system include Bharti Airtel Limited of India,  British Telecommunications, Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates, France Telecom, Mauritius Telecom, Saudi Telecom Company, Comores Telecom, Sudan Telecom Company, Tanzania Telecommunications Company, Telecom Malagasy,  Zambia Telecommunications Company, Zanzibar Telecom.

TEAMs

85 per cent of the cable is owned by TEAMs (Kenya) Ltd and the rest by Etisalaat of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).   The TEAMS (Kenya) Ltd holding breaks down as follows:

  • 32.5% – Safaricom Ltd
  • 23% – Orange Kenya Ltd
  • 20% – Government of Kenya
  • 10% – Liquid Telecom Kenya Ltd
  • 6% – Wananchi Group
  • 5% – Jamii Telecom Ltd
  • 1.8% – Access Kenya Group
  • 1.2% – BCS Group

West African Cable System (WACS)

  • Telkom
  • Vodacom
  • MTN
  • Tata Communications (Neotel)
  • Broadband Infraco
  • Cable & Wireless
  • Portugal Telecoms
  • Congo Telecoms (formerly Sotelco)
  • Telecom Namibia
  • Togo Telecom
  • OCPT (Office Congolais des Postes et Telecommunications)
  • Angola Telecom

MaIN OnE

Privately owned.  On June 1, 2009, the African Development Bank confirmed  USD 66 million financing for the project.

Africa Coast to Europe (ACE)

ACE consortium signatories:

  • Baharicom Development Company
  • Cable Consortium of Liberia
  • Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicações
  • Côte d’Ivoire Telecom
  • Expresso Telecom Group
  • France Telecom
  • Gambia Telecommunications Company
  • International Mauritania Telecom
  • Office Congolais des Postes et Télécommunications
  • Orange Cameroun
  • Orange Guinée
  • Orange Mali
  • Orange Niger
  • PT Comunicações
  • Republic of Equatorial Guinea
  • Republic of Gabon
  • Sierra Leone Cable Company
  • Sonatel
  • Sotelgui

LION / LION2

 


Africa at Night image courtesy Wikipedia/NASA

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  • Sally

    Great info here. Can anyone tell me who the Tier 1 ISP players are in South Africa and other African countries like Nigeria and Kenya? Also….what exactly makes a Tier 1 player exactly that? SOurces would help too!

  • Wikipedia has a good description of what makes a Tier 1 provider. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tier_1_network I am not aware of any African ISPs that would qualify.

    I think the closest thing to a regional Tier 1 provider would be Liquid Telecom http://liquidtelecom.com/about-us/network-map

  • Ia Q

    Hi Gerhard. Interested in the Fiber VAS space in Ghana. Can talk more if you like. I can be reached at info@dvnsgh.com.

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  • Jody Anthony Roberts

    I still dont understand why there isnt a cable from SA to NYC, perhaps with a point in Lagos. There are so many cables going to Europe isnt it overkill. I certainly haven’t noticed a surge in international connectivity speeds with all these added cables. Alot of internet sites/applications/services are US based and to me it doesn’t make sense to go through the UK to get to the US. Maybe I’m not seeing what everyone else is seeing.

  • Tim Parle

    Hi Steve. Small point put you have the English and French versions mixed up. This page shows the French version, and the link takes you to the English version. Anyhow, once again, thanks for this great resource.

  • Doh! So I have. More haste, less speed. Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed now.

  • Kaliech

    How realistic is the DARE project? Either they are exaggerating expected capacity or its serious overkill. Also, I’m wondering if the 7 relatively small companies involved can really afford it http://www.africareview.com/business-finance/Djibouti-launches-regional-submarine-cable-system/-/979184/3225534/-/btt115z/-/index.html The major regional players (Liquid Telecom, Safaricom or Ethiotel) aren’t involved in financing it.

  • It’s really hard to say. Consider that Djibouti is also a landing point for
    – Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1)
    – Australia West Express (AWE)
    – Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy)
    – Europe India Gateway (EIG)
    – Middle East North Africa (MENA) Cable System/Gulf Bridge International
    – SEACOM/Tata TGN-Eurasia
    – SeaMeWe-3
    – SeaMeWe-5
    The DARE cable can offer access to competitive international peering, and transit. It’s also fairly short compared to other cables so the total cost is smaller. All of these cables are long bets on the future though so inherently risky.

  • It’s really hard to say. Consider that Djibouti is also a landing point for
    – Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1)
    – Australia West Express (AWE)
    – Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy)
    – Europe India Gateway (EIG)
    – Middle East North Africa (MENA) Cable System/Gulf Bridge International
    – SEACOM/Tata TGN-Eurasia
    – SeaMeWe-3
    – SeaMeWe-5
    The DARE cable can offer access to competitive international peering, and transit. It’s also fairly short compared to other cables so the total cost is smaller. All of these cables are long bets on the future though so inherently risky.

  • Mr G

    Something that would be nice, is you can have an interactive image and/or PDF, with each cable as a layer. Then you can hide the layers (cables) you don’t want to see, so it is a bit less cluttered.

  • You are absolutely right. It is getting hard to see what’s going on. The next version, which will be out shortly, will be even more complicated. In the original SVG file the map is sorted into individual layers. In theory it should be possible to translate those layers into an interactive web map but the last time I tried I was defeated by the complexity of the tools. You have inspired me to try again. Stand by!

  • carine

    hi Steve! I am trying to read the french version, but can’t manage to find it…it would be easier for me! Thanks!!!