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Telecom giants Orange and Vodacom are exploring a strategic partnership to cut costs and expand network coverage in Africa, aiming to enhance connectivity and digital reach. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Leading telecommunications giants Orange and Vodacom are in talks to form a strategic partnership in Africa, aiming to cut costs and expand network coverage across the continent 

This potential collaboration could revolutionise African telecommunications, enhancing connectivity and digital services for millions.

Sources indicate that the two companies are considering agreements to share infrastructure and jointly develop connectivity in overlapping markets, such as Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo. By combining their resources and expertise, Orange and Vodacom hope to reduce the financial strain of network expansions, especially in rural areas where returns on investment are typically lower. This initiative could significantly speed up the deployment of mobile networks and help bridge the digital divide in underserved regions.

Both companies are eager to tap into the rapidly growing African market, which has seen a surge in mobile service adoption, particularly among young, tech-savvy users. The partnership could allow them to offer a broader range of innovative services, including data-driven solutions and mobile financial services, tailored to the evolving needs of African consumers.

Their potential collaboration is further supported by a successful pilot project in Romania, where they achieved a technological breakthrough by conducting the first real-life 4G calls over a shared commercial network using Open RAN technology. This success showcases the feasibility of their joint approach to network development and innovation.

If the partnership comes to fruition, it could have significant implications for the African telecommunications industry, setting a new standard for cooperation among major players. However, challenges remain, including securing regulatory approvals, managing operational complexities, and ensuring fair market competition.

While discussions are ongoing and no final decisions have been made, the prospective Orange-Vodacom partnership represents a major step towards transforming African connectivity. By joining forces, these industry leaders could accelerate the continent’s digital transformation, provide millions with affordable mobile services, and stimulate economic growth through innovation.

The next few months will be critical as both companies navigate negotiations and seek regulatory approvals. As the African market continues to evolve, this potential partnership could play a key role in shaping the future of telecommunications on the continent.

“Our aim is to potentially alleviate the costs of rollout and rural connectivity, helping to address costs to communicate and narrow the digital divide,” a source from Vodacom told the news agency.

The two companies have been looking to boost their presence in Africa.

PAIX Data Centres expands capacity in Ghana to 1.2MW to boost Africa’s digital economy. (Image source: PAIX Data Centres)

PAIX Data Centres, a prominent provider of data centre solutions, has announced the expansion of its Accra facility to 1.2MW. This critical boost aims to enhance the digital economy and stimulate job creation in Ghana 

As one of the largest data centres in the country, the upgraded facility will empower internet service providers (ISPs), cloud providers, and enterprises to fully leverage robust digital infrastructure and improved connectivity. These resources will enable the growth of online businesses, including e-commerce, in the digital era.

The expansion comes at a crucial juncture, as the demand for reliable and scalable data centers in Africa is projected to outstrip supply by 300% over the next two years. To meet this escalating demand, the current installed capacity of 250MW must be significantly increased to 1,200MW by 2030, with data consumption expected to rise by 40% annually until 2025, according to industry estimates.

Accra data centre upgrade highlights

The newly upgraded facility features state-of-the-art infrastructure and robust security measures, ensuring optimal performance for mission-critical applications and services. Additionally, advanced cooling and waste management systems, along with an increased integration of renewable energy sources, contribute to improved environmental impact.

Strategically located in Accra, the data center offers low-latency connectivity to major regional and international network routes, as well as subsea cables, further enhancing overall efficiency and performance.

PAIX Data Centres initially acquired its Accra facility in 2018 and later constructed a second data center in Kenya in 2020. The company’s mission is to drive digital transformation and foster innovation across Africa by providing world-class data center solutions that empower businesses in the digital age.

Africa50, an infrastructure investor and asset manager, committed US$20mn in equity investment to PAIX Data Centres in 2022 to support its expansion into new markets and the upgrade of existing facilities. 

Bright Tawiah, managing director, PAIX Data Centres, Ghana, said, “This expansion reaffirms our dedication to providing best-in-class data center solutions to our customers in Accra and beyond. As one of Africa’s digital economy hotspots, Accra plays a vital role in driving innovation and growth across various industries. We are proud to be at the forefront of this transformation, enabling businesses to thrive in today's increasingly connected world".

Alexander Sulzberger, co-founder & chief technical officer, Ecoband Networks, remarked, “Ecoband Networks has been one of PAIX's longest-standing customers, utilizing the RackAfrica datacenter in Accra since its inception in 2013. We have been extremely pleased with the continuous expansion and upgrade plans spearheaded by the PAIX management, ensuring the delivery of world-class data center services with zero downtime. This reliability provides Ecoband and our international carrier partners hosted in Accra with a solid foundation for our ISP operations.”

PAIX Data Centres partners with Djibouti Sovereign Fund to build a cutting-edge, neutral cloud and carrier data centre, enhancing East Africa's digital infrastructure. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

PAIX Data Centres, renowned for its data center solutions, is thrilled to form a pivotal joint venture with the Djibouti Sovereign Fund for the creation of a cutting-edge, neutral cloud and carrier data center in Djibouti 

This venture marks a crucial step in the advancement of Africa’s digital framework, highlighting the dedication of both entities to drive innovation and development within the area.

Uniting PAIX Data Centres’ industry acumen with the Djibouti Sovereign Fund’s regional insight, this collaboration aims to provide premier data centre services, specifically designed for the distinct demands of Djibouti and the wider East African territory. The upcoming facility is poised to become a vital nexus for ISPs, cloud services, financial bodies, and corporations in need of dependable, expandable infrastructure to bolster their digital ventures.

PAIX Data Centres: Horn of Africa's hub

Djibouti’s strategic location, linked by ten submarine cables with additional ones being laid, positions the data centre as a crucial gateway for PAIX and its clientele to tap into the burgeoning markets of the region.

PAIX is set to acquire the property, structures, and data center apparatus. The center will boast approximately 50,000 square feet of usable area and a critical power capacity of up to 5MW. The initial phase is slated for launch in 2026.

The PAIX Djibouti facility will feature top-tier infrastructure, inclusive of sophisticated cooling technologies, fail-safe power supplies, and stringent security protocols, ensuring peak operation and dependability for essential applications and services. With its multi-megawatt capacity, the data center will address the varied requirements of clients from multiple sectors, equipping them with the tools and support necessary to spur innovation and propel business growth.

PAIX Data Centres, alongside the Djibouti Sovereign Fund, is steadfast in its commitment to furnish unparalleled data center solutions that cater to the dynamic needs of its customers, thereby fostering the economic expansion and well-being of Djibouti and the greater Horn of Africa region. PAIX Data Centres has established operations in Accra, Ghana, and Nairobi, Kenya.

U.S. Embassy in Tanzania closes on May 14-15 due to a submarine cable cut affecting network services. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania has announced a temporary shutdown on the 14 and 15 of May due to widespread network issues within the nation 

The embassy’s official communication indicated that operations would cease on these dates because of deteriorating network conditions stemming from a severed undersea cable that has impacted Tanzania, Kenya, and other countries in the East and Southern African region

"Due to nationwide network degradation, the embassy will be closed to the public on 14 and 15 May. Consular appointments scheduled for these days will be cancelled and rescheduled. However, the consular section will remain open for visa pickups and emergency cases involving American citizens," the embassy conveyed.

The incident of the submarine cable being cut has resulted in internet connectivity challenges for several African nations, including Kenya.

Consequently, internet speeds have diminished, leading companies such as Safaricom to alert their clientele about the ongoing service interruptions.

East African internet outage due to SEACOM and EASSy cable faults, affecting Mayotte and Tanzania. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

On 12 May, several nations in East Africa experienced significant internet outages

According to Netblocks, an internet observatory, these disruptions were due to malfunctions in the SEACOM and EASSy underwater cable systems.

The island of Mayotte, a French territory, and Tanzania were particularly affected, with substantial disruptions in internet services. Mozambique and Malawi also faced moderate levels of disruption, as reported by Netblocks.

Cloudflare, an internet service company, noted on one of its monitoring accounts that the faults in the EASSy and SEACOM cables were causing ongoing internet interruptions in countries including Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar.

Tanzania’s minister of information, communication, and information technology, Nape Nnauye, acknowledged, “The government had been informed by EASSy and SEACOM of disruption to the internet caused by a fault on the cables between Mozambique and South Africa.”

“There are ongoing efforts to solve the problem,” Nnauye stated. “As they continue to solve the problem, we will have very low access to internet and international voice calls,” concluded Nnauye.

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