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MTN Group unveils $650m submarine cable in Ghana

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MTN Group’s $90 million investment in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) will reach another important milestone on Friday when the 14,500 kilometre-long submarine cable lands at South La in Accra.

The successful landing of ACS at the set time of day is highly dependent on weather and sea tide conditions are agreeable.

The WACS submarine cable is an ultra high capacity fiber optic submarine cable system which links Southern Africa and Europe, spanning the west coast of Africa and terminating in London, United Kingdom.

The $650 million cable system is the largest design capacity submarine cable system to ever land on the Africa continent. It has 15 terminal stations which anchor along the western coast of Africa, including countries where MTN has operations such as Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, Namibia and South Africa.

MTN Ghana’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ikpoki, noted in a press statement that the landing of WACS in Ghana was “a crucial milestone for the industry and country, since it will serve as a key enabler to critical telecommunications development in Ghana”.

Mr Ikpoki also said: “WACS, with its 5.2 tetrabite design capacity, is expected to increase overall capacity for transmission of telecommunications data (bandwidth) in Ghana. This single cable will catapult the country deep into the digital age.”

MTN’s investment in WACS forms part of several submarine cables that Africa’s leading telecommunications provider has invested in.

Sifiso Dabengwa, MTN Group’s President and Group Chief Executive Officer expounds “that this is done in an attempt to bring much-needed broadband capacity to the continent in support of bolstering Africa’s efforts to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of bridging the digital divide by providing millions of MTN subscribers across its wide footprint in Africa and the Middle East, with cost efficient and abundant broadband capacity and ability to use smart telecommunications solutions to enhance their lives”.

Mr Dabengwa pointed out the economic benefit MTN’s broadband infrastructure investment projects would bring to the continent at large, quoting a January 2010 World Bank finding that “in low- and middle-income countries every 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration accelerates economic growth by 1.38 percentage points—more than in high-income countries and more than for other telecommunications services”.

The WACS cable has already landed in other African countries with the most recent landing at Yzerfontein along the west coast of the Western Cape, South Africa a few weeks ago.

“MTN is the sole WACS investor constructing and operating four individual Cable Landing Stations (Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon), making MTN the single largest investor to the WACS” said ,Trevor Martins, based in Dubai at MTN’s Global Carrier Services (GCS).

“MTN will continue to work in partnership with Government and other partners to accelerate the growth of the telecommunications industry,” concluded Mr Ikpoki.

The WACS Consortium members are: MTN Group invested via its wholly owned subsidiary MTN Dubai Limited, Angola Cables, Broadband Infraco, Cable &Wireless Worldwide, Congo Telecom, Office Congolais des Postes et Telecommunications (OCPT), PT COMUNICAÇÕES, Togo Telecom, Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia, Telkom SA Ltd and Vodacom Group Ltd.

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 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 31 December 2010, MTN recorded 141, 6 million subscribers across its operations in Ghana, Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus,  Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

Source: GNA

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