According to reports by the News24 network and MyBroadband.co.za two of the leading broadband providers, Telkom and MTN have signed an agreement on Monday 18th April 2016 to build a new submarine cable system that will stretch 12 000km along the eastern coastline of Africa towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan.

The cable also known as Africa-1 is expected to go live in the third quarter of 2017 with the construction and maintenance agreements set to be signed in June 2016. According to Mybroadband this agreement was signed by Telkom and MTN along with a few other eastern telecoms companies – Hong Kong ICT firm PCCW, Saudi Telecom Company and Telecom Egypt however, Telkom’s spokesperson told Fin24 that Telkom had not yet fully committed itself to the the cable saying:

“The Africa1 Group has been conducting preliminary talks with industry players to establish interest in a new undersea cable along the East coast,

Telkom has participated in these talks but has not committed to any investment in the initiative.

We are always looking for ways to best collaborate within the industry but importantly, any such collaboration would have to be in a manner that added value to the business.”

If the undersea cable system goes ahead, it will not only complement our existing undersea cables such as Seacom that landed on our shores in 2009, but will also provide more diversity for the large volume of broadband traffic coming from South Africa into the rest of the world. According to Fin24, MTN has not yet commented on this new development and this development comes amid a large job-cut drive that Telkom is on in order to “cut costs”.