The 5.12Tbps West Africa Cable System (WACS) was launched on 11 May 2012, raising questions about a potential international bandwidth price war as well as the impact on other cable systems like SEACOM.
Many people may think that SEACOM will suffer after WACS becomes operational, but the inverse may be true.
SEACOM says that there has been increased demand for bundled offerings from customers for both SEACOM and WACS capacity. “Customers don’t want to just run on single cable systems anymore,” said SEACOM.
“The arrival of WACS allows SEACOM to provide more diverse and innovative products to the market using a full ring around Africa.”
SEACOM also does not predict price war in the international bandwidth market in SA. “We anticipate some impact on wholesale pricing but the real impact will come where it is needed most – terrestrial connectivity between Cape Town and Johannesburg,” SEACOM said.
“The availability of low-cost bandwidth on both coasts will encourage competition and price declines in the terrestrial fibre market.”
No new cable needed for a decade
There are a few other submarine cable projects with plans to land in South Africa, but Telkom and SEACOM have both said that there is no need for other cable systems for the next decade.
SEACOM said that, while all the new African cable systems are trying to fill connectivity gaps in the market, the reality is that with rapidly evolving throughput technology for fibre, future upgrades on existing cables will satisfy the burgeoning demand for the next decade.
Telkom previously said that the West Africa Cable System (WACS) meets its capacity requirements for at least the next decade.