Huawei leads new efforts to develop cable infrastructure in Africa

Due to increasing need for bandwidth, cable infrastructure in Africa is being upgraded, and China-based Huawei Technologies is involved in some of the bigger projects.

Stakeholders in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) Consortium will be upgrading the fiber cable using Huawei Marine Networks, a joint venture between Huawei Technologies and Global Marine Systems.

The approximately 16,000 kilometer-long cable is owned by 17 international telecom carriers in Africa and Europe. According to Telecom Namibia’s WACS project engineer, Sevelus Nakashole, the initial phase of the project will upgrade will upgrade the cable from its current 10Gbps capacity to 100Gbps by June 2015.

The WACS consortium opted for the system’s upgrade because of a huge uptake of bandwidth since it was launched in May 2012.

The decision to upgrade the cable was taken last week at a five-day meeting in Namibia last week. Telecom companies from South Africa, Botswana, Angola, DRC, Congo Brazaville, Cameroon, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde Islands, Spain, Portugal, U.K., India and Canada were represented at the meeting.

The WACS landing station in Namibia also provides transit for landlocked countries like Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, hence the growing importance of the facility for West and Southern African countries.

In addition, Huawei Marine last week won a contract from the Equatorial Guinea government to build the Ceiba-2 Submarine Cable System, designed to let the country connect to larger submarine cable systems including WACS, SAT-3, and Main One by the fourth quarter of 2015.

The project will also provide restoration or redundancy routes for existing traffic on Ceiba-1, the direct link between Malabo and Bata, and the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable branch to Bata.

Earlier this month at Mobile World Congress, Ghana’s first LTE operator, Surfline Communications, announced a US$40million deal with Huawei to expand its services to Ghanaian cities that have a growing number of data users.

Surfline said the project, once completed, will let it boast of over 700 cell sites. Surfline had earlier worked with Alcatel-Lucent to commercially launch its 4G LTE service.

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