Industry Thought Leadership

CMI Invests to Drive the Development of the Digital Economy in MEA

June, 2023
China Mobile International

China Mobile International

5G networks will account for nearly a fifth of mobile connections in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) by 2025, and almost half of connections in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, according to the GSMA. With the backing of China Mobile, China Mobile International (CMI) remains committed to the region, providing global network resources and integrated solutions to help carriers and businesses tap into the opportunities that 5G will bring.

Enhancing connections between MEA and the world
As one of the industry leaders, CMI is connecting the world and driving global adoption of 5G. Its extensive global infrastructure supports customers in MEA with reliable, scalable and resilient network resources.

The 45,000-km 2Africa submarine cable is an ambitious project to interconnect Africa, Europe (eastward via Egypt) and Asia (via Saudi Arabia). It was announced by CMI and other partners in May 2020, with 26 out of a total of 46 landings completed by February 2023. When 2Africa goes live in 2024, it will deliver more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables currently serving Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180 Terabits per second (Tbps).

The only Chinese company investing in the project, CMI is committed to the further growth of 4G in MEA and the continued roll-out of 5G and fixed broadband services. Its mission is to help bring connectivity to underserved and rural areas across the region while enhancing network resilience and global connectivity to benefit businesses and individuals throughout MEA.

As a gateway to international connectivity, the 2Africa cable will also help to drive the upgrade and expansion of telecommunications networks in the region. It will offer customers seamless links between Africa and Europe, further interconnecting with CMI’s SEA-ME-WE 5 (SMW-5) and Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE-1) subsea cable resources to extend connectivity to Asia. This will support the development of a thriving internet ecosystem, especially for underserved communities across Africa.

2Africa is an important milestone in CMI’s global development strategy. Offering ample capacity and faster transmission will allow CMI to help the nations of MEA to further develop their digital economy today and in the future.

Expanding regional infrastructure to serve MEA
CMI continues to enhance regional telecom infrastructure in MEA by investing in network resources and expanding its footprint to better serve local customers and support business development. CMI currently has 80 submarine and terrestrial cables that provide total network capacity of over 123T. These include 15 submarine cables and 23 terrestrial cables in which CMI has directly invested, such as the 20,000-km undersea SMW-5 cable between Egypt and Singapore. In addition, more than 30 of CMI’s 232 Points of Presence (PoPs) are located in the Middle East and major African countries, including UAE, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Together with CMI’s 80 plus cloud connect PoPs, this creates a strong global network that provides direct internet access and internet transit services for MEA at lower cost.

On March 7, 2023, CMI announced the successful launch of its Oman Muscat MC1 PoP. CMI’s second PoP in Oman, it is located within the carrier-neutral Equinix MC1 data center in Barka. This data center is also a landing station for multiple submarine cable systems, reinforcing the country’s importance as a network hub bridging Asia, Africa and Europe.

Nurturing the telecoms ecosystem
In coming years, the Middle East will benefit hugely from the introduction of developments like smart city technologies, digital financial services and the Internet of Vehicles (IoV). CMI continues to work with partners like Zain KSA, Etisalat Egypt and Master Power Technologies etc. in driving the development and adoption of 5G, IoT and IDC solutions to boost digital transformation and advance the region.

With telecom operators and solutions providers in MEA building the infrastructure and solutions to make innovations possible for consumers, business and industry, CMI is delighted and dedicated to working with partners across the region to help nurture the ecosystem for a smarter and more connected future. Our investments in collaboration and infrastructure in MEA underscore the region’s importance to CMI’s vision of a digitalized future where the global information civilization is an empowering reality for all.

About 2Africa
2Africa is a 45,000 km subsea cable system and the largest cable project in the world. It will be the first system to provide continuous capacity around the African continent while connecting countries in Africa, Asia (including the Middle East) and Europe. The system will facilitate communications for over 3 billion people - over 30% of the world's population. It will drive a unique ecosystem that will boost digital transformation for applications including healthcare, education, and financial services for 33 countries across three continents.
2Africa is funded by a consortium of global partners. The consortium includes eight members, namely, Bayobab, center3, China Mobile International, Meta, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and WIOCC.
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