Africa-1 Consortium sign MOU for the fastest and most reliable connectivity between Africa, the Middle East and South Central Asia

HKT (SEHK: 6823) HONG KONG, April 18, 2016

MTN Group, PCCW Global, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Telecom Egypt (TE) and Telkom South Africa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the intention of constructing the new “Africa-1” submarine cable system. This consortium-funded system will connect Africa with the Middle East and South Central Asia and provide onward connectivity to Europe.

Companies named in the MoU represent a wealth of experience and expertise in deploying major cable systems, and they are expected to be joined in the consortium by other carriers seeking to contribute to and to share in Africa-1’s success. The consortium members have access to landings at all major cable systems in the Middle East, which will facilitate efficient and effective connectivity between Africa-1 and the rest of the world.

Africa-1 will have at least 3-fiber pair core that extends more than 12,000 km along Africa’s East Coast towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, with up to an additional 5,000 km for branches. Africa-1 will leverage the latest state-of-the-art 100G technology and will be initially equipped to accommodate several terabits of capacity from day one. Along with comprehensive interconnection with other cable systems and full Open Access at all cable landing points, Africa-1 will be technically and commercially be designed to be attractive, delivering easy accessibility and a unique low-latency direct express route. The Construction and Maintenance Agreement is expected to be signed by June 2016, with a target ready for service timeframe of the third quarter of 2017.

Dr. Homoud M. Alkussayer, Vice President and Head of Wholesale Business Unit of STC, said, “Africa is an important emerging marketplace with ever-increasing opportunities arising from the positive socio-economic developments in many African countries. STC is proud to participate in Africa-1 and looks forward to work towards its success. We believe that with its effective connectivity with the rest of the world, Africa-1 can become an important enabler and contributor to the economic progress of Africa in the coming years.”

Mr. Marc Halbfinger, Chief Executive Officer of PCCW Global, said, “We believe strongly in the potential success of this project due to the strength of our partners. All are major telecommunications service providers who are committed to their customers and have strong records of success. We view Africa-1 as a natural extension to facilitate the increasing capacity demands of the Asia-Africa trade corridor with better levels of reliability to connect people and business in the world’s fast growing economies.”

Mr. Tamer Gadallah, Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Egypt, said, “The addressable market of African wholesale bandwidth customers is more promising than in many other regions. The weakness of the continent’s international bandwidth is due to the lack of new systems coming into Africa to enhance the competitiveness of the African market. Africa-1 system has a superior cost base and a state-of-the-art design that will enable it to be the most competitive system coming to serve this diversified market.”

Mr. John Unterhorst, Group Executive responsible for Global Carrier Services and Group Network/IP Projects (MTN Group), hailed Africa-1 as a high capacity consortium initiative on the Eastern African seaboard that will complement existing cables now nearing their mid-life. “Africa-1 will ensure future resiliency and capacity requirements for the explosive digital broadband future, so vital for Africa’s economic and social development,” he said.

Mr. Casper Kondo-Chihaka, Managing Executive of Network Engineering & Build, Telkom SA, said, “In addition to complementing our existing high-bandwidth cable systems in the region, Africa-1 will provide more diversity for the large volume broadband traffic from South Africa to the rest of the world. This cable will provide the means to fulfill our role as Champions of the National Broadband access and act as catalyst to stimulate further penetration of Internet connectivity for the entire country.”

 

About PCCW Global

PCCW Global is the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong's premier telecommunications service provider, which is majority-owned by PCCW Limited. Covering more than 3,000 cities and 140 countries, the PCCW Global network supports a portfolio of integrated global communications solutions which include Ethernet, IP, fiber and satellite transmission solutions, international voice and VoIPX services, managed network & security services and our expanding “as-a-service” solutions including OTT video and Unified Communications.

PCCW Global is headquartered in Hong Kong, and maintains regional centers in Belgium, China, France, Greece, Japan, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. To learn more about PCCW Global, please visit www.pccwglobal.com.

About HKT

HKT (SEHK: 6823) is Hong Kong's premier telecommunications service provider and leading operator in fixed-line, broadband and mobile communication services. It meets the needs of the Hong Kong public and local and international businesses with a wide range of services including local telephony, local data and broadband, international telecommunications, mobile, and other telecommunications businesses such as customer premises equipment sales, outsourcing, consulting, and contact centers.

HKT offers a unique quadruple-play experience in Hong Kong delivering media content on its fixed-line, broadband Internet access and mobile platforms jointly with its parent company, PCCW Limited.

HKT also provides a range of innovative and smart living services beyond connectivity to make the daily lives of customers more convenient, whether they are at home, in the workplace, or on the go.

About Saudi Telecom Company

Saudi Telecom Group (STC) is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa based on its market value. STC generated over $13.5 billion in realizable revenues in 2015.

STC was established in 1998 and currently counts about 100,000,000 customers worldwide and to which they provide high-technology knowledge-based innovative solutions. It focuses on providing services to customers through a fiber-optic network that spans 137,000 kilometers across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.  

In Saudi Arabia (the group’s main operation site) STC operates the largest modern mobile network in the Middle East as it covers more than 99% of the country’s populated areas in addition to providing 4G mobile broadband to more than 85% of the population across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Besides its main operation in Saudi Arabia, STC has operational control, and ownership in several international operators in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. In addition, STC has investments in information technology, content, distribution, contact centers and real estate, all of which support its telecom operations across the Middle East.

About Telecom Egypt

Telecom Egypt (TE), Egypt’s incumbent telecommunications operator, started its operations in 1854 with the first telegraph line in Egypt. Then it was corporatized in 1998 to replace the former Arab Republic of Egypt National Telecommunication Organization (ARENTO). The Company is the largest provider of fixed-line services in the Middle East and Africa with 6.6 million subscribers as at 31 December 2015.

TE provides retail telecommunication services including access, local, long distance and international voice, Internet and data, and other services. The company also provides wholesale services including bandwidth capacity leasing to ISPs, and national and international interconnection services. Telecom Egypt’s services also include the provision of narrowband and broadband internet access through its subsidiary TE Data. TE Data has active operations in Egypt and Jordan.

TE currently participates in the mobile segment in Egypt by providing mobile interconnectivity through its current, increased 44.95% holding in Vodafone Egypt, one of the three existing Egyptian mobile operators.

TE’s shares and GDRs (Ticker: ETEL.CA; TEEG.LN) are traded on The Egyptian Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. For Further Information, visit TE on http://te.eg.

About MTN Group 

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of June 2015, MTN recorded 231 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

MTN is part of a number of consortia that over the past 12 years have (via collaborative arrangements) invested and delivered submarine cable infrastructure around Africa and the Middle East, greatly reducing the broadband capacity deficit and cost in Africa.

About Telkom South Africa

Telkom is a leading communications services provider in South Africa. We had consolidated operating revenue from continuing operations in excess of R31.7 billion.

As at 31 March 2015, Telkom had approximately 4 million telephone access lines in service and 1million ports connected via MSAN access. We offer business, residential and payphone customers a wide range of services and products, including:

  • fixed-line retail voice services using PSTN;
  • fixed-line customer premises equipment rental and sales services both voice and data needs
  • interconnection services, including terminating and transiting traffic from South African mobile operators, as well as from international operators and transiting traffic from mobile to international destinations;
  • fixed-line data services, including domestic and international data transmission services, such as point-to-point leased lines, ADSL  services, packet-based services, managed data networking services and internet access and related information technology services;
  • Data Centre Operations includes e-commerce, application service provider, hosting, data storage, e-mail and security services;
  • W-CDMA,a 3G next generation network, including fixed voice services, data services and nomadic voice services;
  • Telkom Mobile communication services,
  • other services including directory services, through Trudon (Pty) Ltd, wireless data services, through Swiftnet (Pty) Ltd.

Convergence is one of our key strategic initiatives in building a sustainable future for Telkom. We lead the provision of converged services in South Africa in support of our mission statement: Seamlessly connecting people to a better life; and have been appointed the Champion for the National Broadband Access in South Africa.

For more information, please contact:

Ivan Ho
Group Communications
PCCW Group
Tel:     +852 2883 8747
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.