Level 3 enters South Africa

Level 3 Communications, one of the world’s largest IP services providers, is set to launch a wide range of IP products and services in South Africa. This includes international IP transit services, CDNs, broadcast services and MPLS VPN products.

Peter Davies, Level 3’s master agent for Africa, told MyBroadband that the company’s first CDN offerings are already live. Most of the other services – including IP transit offerings – will be operational by mid-April.

Level 3 is establishing an IP node in Johannesburg – in the vendor-neutral Teraco data centre – and will complement this presence with a Cape Town node later in the year.

Davies said that Level 3 is currently in negotiations with all the submarine cable system companies in South Africa, and will offer services over all these systems in future. This includes SAT-3, EASSy, SEACOM and WACS.

Davies highlighted that Level 3 will be offering the full suite of products available from the company, globally. As an international tier 1 provider, he said, local providers can expect better connectivity, higher speeds and an overall great experience.

Great international bandwidth prices

Level 3 international network
Level 3 international network

Two local Internet Service providers (ISPs), which have been contacted by Level 3, told MyBroadband that the international bandwidth and transit prices from Level 3 are very aggressive.

According to these ISPs, the Level 3 rates are significantly lower than current market prices from providers like Neotel and Telkom.

However, Davies downplayed its apparent lower prices, saying that it is the overall value proposition which is the biggest draw-card for South African operators and service providers.

Level 3 not completely new to South Africa

Derek Hershaw - MWEB
Derek Hershaw – MWEB

Level 3 is not completely new to South Africa. In March 2012, MWEB announced that it had concluded an agreement with Level 3 Communications to exchange traffic with Level 3’s global IP network and content distribution network (CDN).

This agreement, MWEB said at the time, would bring services to South Africa and the Southern African region.

Davies said that MWEB’s CDN node has been live for some time, adding that the ISP is already offering a wide range of Level 3 services to the Naspers group.

MWEB ISP CEO, Derek Hershaw said that the company speaks to Level 3 regularly. “We have a very close working relationship on the back of our CDN agreement,” said Hershaw.

However, Hershaw said that MWEB is not looking for international bandwidth services at this stage as “we have sufficient capacity on Seacom and on WACS”.

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Level 3 enters South Africa