Subscribers of Africa’s top Telecom, MTN in Nigeria are experiencing slow internet service after two continental undersea cables along the western coast were damaged.
The undersea cables which carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea transfer about 99% of international data transmitted on the continent. It is however unclear if any other Nigerian telco is affected as all appear to be working just fine.
According to Openserve, the South Atlantic 3/West Africa (SAT-3/WASC) submarine cable, which links South Africa to Europe was damaged near Libreville in Gabon. The West Africa Cable System (WASC), which links South Africa to the United Kingdom, also experienced outage along the coast of Luanda, Angola.
Network status update:
Openserve earlier ascertained that the SAT3/WACS break is in the Libreville, Gabon, Vicinity and the WACS cable break has been isolated to the Congo between two repeater sites. Further tests are being conducted by the upstream provider. Updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/8CC7JVRgC1
— Afrihost (@Afrihost) January 17, 2020
This is, however, not the first time damage to undersea cables has disrupted internet services on the continent. In 2018, after the African Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable was severed, more than 10 African countries were affected, with Mauritania going offline for 48 hours.
Currently, Consumer’s across some countries including Nigeria, South Africa and Ivory coast are having issues sending emails, making international calls as well as browsing.
MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest telecommunications provider, apologized to customers in Nigeria and Ivory Coast for slow Internet speeds and difficulties in accessing data services. The company, in newspaper advertisements and via Twitter, said the problem was beyond its control.
Yello. We apologise if you have been experiencing slow data speeds or finding it difficult to access the internet at the moment. Our technical teams are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Please bear with us. pic.twitter.com/ZihMXtMEVt
— MTN Nigeria (@MTNNG) January 16, 2020
“This situation is affecting all operators and customers in the region,” a Johannesburg-based spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “MTN has already begun to restore traffic through other channels and will continue to find alternative routes of connectivity until the situation is resolved.”
South Africa-based Internet Solutions, a unit of Dimension Data Holdings Plc, told customers in Ghana a “major” service impact had started on Thursday afternoon and it didn’t know when services would be restored.