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The Future of African Fiber - 2023: How a Data Traffic Boom, Hyperscale Subsea Cables and Cloud Services Are Transforming African Fiber Models

  • Report

  • 151 Pages
  • December 2022
  • Region: Africa
  • Xalam Analytics
  • ID: 5791323

African Fiber Market in the Midst of Transformation

Few markets symbolize the frenetic race to build up Africa’s digital infrastructure as much as the fiber market. From the data center to the home, fiber networks provide the pipes that interconnect facilities, cities, countries, and the broader African continent to the global Internet - and to itself. 

The African fiber market has witnessed significant infrastructure build over the past decade. Twenty five new Africa-focused submarine cables have landed in the region since 2010, bringing in more than 500 Tbps of potential international capacity. Terrestrial fiber deployments have crossed the 1 million kilometer-mark; dozens of thousands of mobile network sites are being fiberized to support mobile broadband. Last mile fiber networks now pass more than 10 million homes and businesses across the region, four times more than only five years ago. Today, fiber networks are an essential enabler of what we have called Africa’s age of cloud; they are the glue that binds together the African Internet.

The African fiber market is in the midst of significant change. The irrepressible growth of data traffic is exploding IP transit requirements. Soaring demand for cloud and data center connectivity and impending 5G deployments are transforming metro fiber markets. The rollout of software-defined networks (SDN) is transforming how African wholesale capacity is provisioned. The arrival of hyperscale cables Equiano, 2Africa and PEACE is not just bringing new capacity; the new cables are actively reshaping traditional international capacity sales models, forcing wholesale carriers to evolve their business models. 

This is a market rife with paradox. Much has been achieved - and yet, so much remains to be done to extend the reach of fiber. International capacity buildout is booming, yet economic value has shifted to terrestrial fiber networks. Only a fraction of available international bandwidth is currently in use - and yet supply is being multiplied by a factor of 4 or 5. The region remains highly fragmented into small regulatory fiefdoms - and yet economic value increasingly requires borderless, continental, on-net scale.

The Future of African Fiber report series explores all these questions and more. It is the outcome of a long, arduous and ambitious effort - an attempt to provide an in-depth view into key trends, economics and overall potential of the African fiber market, from the first mile to the last mile. As is now Xalam tradition, our commitment remains unyielding, to deliver to you the best research value for money you will find on this topic, on these markets. Anywhere

Table of Contents

  • On submarine fiber and African international capacity markets
  • On terrestrial fiber and FTTH
  • On the outlook for wholesale pricing and revenue
I. State of international capacity supply
  • Africa’s international capacity : summary highlights
  • A diverse mix of cables serving Africa, from regional to transcontinental
  • The region is in the midst of a fourth peak of construction
  • A market-shifting flow of international capacity is hitting the region
  • Africa’s equipped capacity is set to double
II. An explosion of demand for international and terrestrial capacity
  • A perfect storm of demand for African wholesale data connectivity
  • Key Africa wholesale market drivers
  • A skyrocketing demand, driven by IP transit, cloud and data center ecosystems
  • Demand vs. supply: oversupplied for now - but undersupplied relative to demand projections
III. Equiano, 2Africa, PEACE, Medusa: charting the impact of hyperscale cables
  • The hyperscale cables are coming
  • Why hyperscalers are building: not enough diversity, not enough low-latency supply
  • Why hyperscalers are building: aging cables vs. gigantic bandwidth requirements
  • Hyperscale cables: upending African tier-1 capacity acquisition models
  • How will hyperscale cables impact African markets?
  • Our impact analysis - the biggest will get bigger
IV. Benchmarking Africa’s cable systems
  • Cable system by design capacity
  • Cable system by lit capacity - 2024F
  • Africa submarine CapEx - $7bn of spend
  • Africa submarine CapEx - new cables are 100x+ more cost-efficient on a per Gbps basis
I. The rise of terrestrial long-haul and metro fiber
  • Africa’s extensive terrestrial fiber deployments over the past decade
  • Key long-haul market trends - liberalization, premium pricing and migration to IP and dark fiber
  • Africa terrestrial fiber - the emergence of new digital corridors powered by terrestrial fiber
  • Who controls African terrestrial fiber?
II.  The African FTTH Boom
  • An African FTTH boom: 10m+ homes passed added over the past decade
  • An African FTTH boom: nearing the 6m connections mark
  • South Africa and everyone else - the long tail of African FTTH adoption
  • Urban FTTH penetration is on the rise
  • FTTH outlook: a market set to double in size
III. From STM-1 to multigigabit and SDN: the evolution of the African wholesale business model
  • The evolution of African wholesale pricing - racing to commoditization, just not everywhere
  • Africa wholesale revenue outlook: a dynamic market sees more growth ahead
  • Africa wholesale data revenue outlook - table view
  • Africa top 10 wholesale markets - a table view
  • The African wholesale data competitive landscape
  • Africa fiber competitive landscape: MNOs and pan-African fibercos
  • Africa fiber competitive landscape: regional vs. country-focused fibercos
  • Africa fiber competitive landscape: state fibercos and FTTH
  • Africa fiber competitive landscape: Global carriers, utilities and others
  • Africa top wholesale providers - estimated revenue
  • Africa top wholesale providers - key fiber assets
  • Africa top wholesale providers - presence heatmap
PART IV: West & Central Africa
I. West & Central Africa summary market view and key drivers
II. Breaking down the West & Central Africa international capacity market
III. West & Central Africa terrestrial and last mile fiber: at long last, picking up
IV. West & Central Africa - key fiber players and competitive landscape
V.  Country Fiber Analysis: Nigeria
VI.  Country Fiber Analysis: Cote-d’Ivoire
VI. Country Fiber Analysis: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
VII.  Country Fiber Analysis: Senegal

PART V: East & Horn of Africa
I. East & Horn of Africa summary market view and key drivers
II. Breaking down the  East Africa international capacity market
III. East Africa terrestrial and last mile fiber: rapidly maturing, with more growth ahead
IV. East Africa - key fiber players and competitive landscape
V.  Country Fiber Analysis: Kenya
VI.  Country Fiber Analysis: Tanzania
VI. Country Fiber Analysis: Ethiopia/Uganda

PART VI: South Africa
I. South Africa summary view: accelerated growth and consolidation beckon in mature market
II. Breaking down the  South African international capacity market
III. South Africa  Terrestrial fiber: dynamic long-haul and booming metro
IV. South Africa last mile fiber
V. Key fiber players and competitive landscape: MNOs, FNOs and a race to consolidation
VI. Wholesale market revenue outlook: more growth ahead

Companies Mentioned

  • AFR-IX
  • Angola Cables
  • Axian
  • BCS
  • Bofinet
  • Camtel
  • Csquared
  • Dalkom
  • Dark Fibre Africa
  • Djibouti Telecom
  • Dolphin
  • Ethio Telecom
  • Google
  • GVA
  • Helios Towers
  • IPNX
  • Isocel
  • Jamii
  • Kenya Power
  • Liquid Intelligent Tech
  • MainOne
  • Maroc Telecom
  • Meta
  • Openserve
  • Orange
  • Paratus
  • PCCW Global
  • Safaricom
  • SBIN Benin
  • Seacom
  • Senegal Numerique
  • SIN Togo
  • SPIN Gabon
  • Telecom Egypt
  • Vumatel
  • Wananchi