Africa: Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 3 Tbps In 2014, On Target For 4.5 Tbps By Dec 2015

Africa’s international Internet bandwidth reached the 3 Tbps mark by December 2014, according to the seventh annual edition of the Africa Telecom Transmission Map published by Hamilton Research. Africa previously reached the 2 Tbps mark in December 2013, 1 Tbps in mid 2012, 500 Gbps in December 2010, and 100 Gbps during 2008. All of Africa’s international bandwidth is supplied by submarine cables, terrestrial networks connected to submarine cables, or satellite.

At current growth rates, Africa’s international bandwidth will reach 4.5 Tbps by the end of 2015. Already by June 2015, Kenya had reached 789 Gbps according to the Communications Authority, an annual increase of 80.8% compared to 436 Gbps in June 2014 (see Kenya: Kenya’s International Bandwidth Reaches 789 Gbps, June 2015). Egypt meanwhile reached 632 Gbps by June 2015 according to MCIT, an annual increase of 72.8% compared to 366 Gbps in June 2014 (see Egypt: Egypt’s International Bandwidth Reaches 631.63 Gbps, June 2015).

By December 2014, Africa’s total international Internet bandwidth reached 3.012 Tbps, a 48% increase compared to 2013. This total of 3.012 Tbps was split between Sub-Saharan Africa, which increased by 47% to reach 1.681 Tbps, and North Africa which increased by 49% to reach 1.330 Tbps. Excluding Kenya, which reached 498 Gbps in 2014 according to the Communications Authority (CA), the total bandwidth for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 52% to reach 1.183 Tbps in December 2014.

Of the total bandwidth of 1.681 Tbps in Sub-Saharan Africa by December 2014, 1.559 Tbps was supplied directly by submarine cable. There is plenty of room for future growth: this figure of 1.559 Tbps is still a fraction of the total design capacity that is potentially now available on the 18 submarine cables serving the region in December 2014. The total design capacity has increased both with the introduction of new submarine cable systems, from 7 operational cables in 2008 and 13 in 2011, and with the upgrading of capacity on existing systems from 2.5G and 10G wavelength technology to 40G and 100G.

Click here for larger view. To order your copy of the 2015/6 Africa Telecom Transmission Map click here.

The 2015/6 Africa Telecom Transmission Map is sponsored by Liquid Telecom. Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the dozens of network operators for providing information, and the following organisations for their input and advice into the research and production of this map: Africa Analysis, Balancing Act, ECCAS, ECOWAS, Europa Technologies, Liquid Telecom, WIOCC and the World Bank.

Terrestrial Cross Border Traffic Increases By 87%

Of the total bandwidth of 1.681 Tbps in Sub-Saharan Africa by December 2014, 116.4 Gbps was supplied by terrestrial cross-border fibre networks connected to submarine cables. The completion of new cross-border links, and the expansion of capacity on others, has seen the volume of intra-regional traffic backhauled to submarine cable landing points increase by 87% to reach 116.4 Gbps by December 2014. This compares to 62.2 Gbps in 2013, 42.8 Gbps in 2012, 33.5 Gbps in 2011, 19.4 Gbps in 2010, 10.5 Gbps in 2009, 4.1 Gbps in 2008, 747 Mbps in 2007, 362 Mbps in 2006 and 33 Mbps in 2005.

These terrestrial backhaul networks are delivering much greater bandwidth to those countries which do not have their own submarine cable landing point. Landlocked Mali’s international Internet bandwidth reached 16.880 Gbps in December 2014, a 493% increase compared to 2.849 Gbps in December 2013 (see Mali: Mali’s International Bandwidth Reaches 16.880 Gbps, December 2014). Ethiopia reached 27.3 Gbps in December 2014, a 214% increase compared to 8.686 Gbps in 2013 (see Ethiopia: Ethio Telecom’s International Bandwidth Reaches 27.3 Gbps During 2014). And Zimbabwe reached 13.860 Gbps in December 2014, a 53% increase compared to 9.060 Gbps in 2013 (see Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe’s International Bandwidth Increases by 53% During 2014). However, while some landlocked countries saw rapid growth during 2014, others have seen lower growth than in previous years, including Rwanda (5.737 Gbps, a 15% increase compared to 4.997 Gbps in 2013), Malawi (2.080 Gbps, an 8% increase) and Uganda (13.820 Gbps, a 5% increase).

About Us

Hamilton Research is a specialist provider of research, analysis and GIS cartographic services for telecom markets in Africa and other developing regions. We undertake customised research and consulting projects for a range of clients, with projects ranging from the research and production of maps-to-order and the development of market metrics.


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