Asia-Europe-Africa Submarine Cable Systems

FLAG Europe Asia (now FEA), originally called Fibre-optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG), is a 28,000km submarine cable connecting 18 countries and regions in Asia, Africa and Europe. FLAG EA (FEA) was opened for commercial service on 22 November 1997.

FLAG Europe Asia (FEA) was originally a private cable owned by FLAG Telecom. FLAG Europe Asia, FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop (FNAL/RNAL), FALCON and FLAG Atlantic 1 (FA-1)formed FLAG Global Network. In 2003, Reliance Communications, now branded as Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), acquired FLAG Telecom for $207million. 

FLAG Europe Asia (FEA) lands at the following cable landing stations:

  • Porthcurno / Skewjack, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
  • Estepona, Málaga, Andalusia, Spain
  • Palermo, Province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy
  • Alexandria, Al Iskandariyah Governorate, Egypt
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Suez, As Suways Governorate, Egypt
  • Aqaba, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan
  • Jeddah, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia
  • Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
  • Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Penang, Malaysia, meeting SAFE and SEA-ME-WE 3
  • Satun, Satun Province, Thailand
  • Songkhla, Songkhla province, Thailand
  • Silvermine Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
  • Nanhui, Shanghai, China
  • Keoje, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
  • Ninomiya, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
  • Miura, Kanagawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

FLAG Europe Asia (FEA) Cable Map

Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy) is a 10,000km submarine cable system along the east coast of Africa, with 9 landing stations in Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa, provides a backhaul system for at least 12 landlocked countries, enabling wide coverage in the East African region. 

The EASSy cable system was ready for service in July 2010.

The EASSy cable system comprises two fiber pairs, initially designed with 68*10Gbps DWDM technology. The design capacity was upgraded to 4.72 Tbps in 2011 with ASN's 40Gbps wavelength technology.

The EASSy project costs an initial investment at approximately US$ 235 million. 

The EASSy Consortium consists of 18 members, including Bharti Airtel, Botswana Fibre Networks, BT, Comores Telecom, Djibouti Telecom, Etisalat, Mauritius Telecom, MTN Group, Neotel, Orange, Saudi Telecom, Sudan Telecom Company, Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, Telkom Kenya, Telkom South Africa, Telma (Telecom Malagasy), Vodacom DRC, WIOCC, Zambia Telecom. 

According to Many Possibilities, EASSy is 90% African-owned although that ownership is underwritten by a substantial investment by Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) including World Bank/IFC, EIB, AfDB, AFD, and KfW. Total DFI investment is apparently $70.7 million, with $18.2 million coming from IFC, 14.5 million from AfDB. This is a smaller amount than the originally advertised $120 million investment from DFIs.

South African investors in EASSY include Telkom/Vodacom ($18.9 million) , MTN ($40.3 million),  and Neotel (~$11 million). MTN is  the largest operator investor in the EASSy project. Telkom is the landing party and owner of the Mtunzini cable landing station in South Africa. 

WIOCC is the largest shareholder in the EASSy Consortium and owns 29% of the EASSy cable system.

AfDB funding was a vital element in the setting up of the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), which was established as a “Special Purpose Vehicle” (SPV) and largest shareholder in the EASSy submarine cable system.

WIOCC consortium members include: Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Dalkom Somalia, Djibouti Telecom, Gilat Satcom Nigeria Ltd., the Government of Seychelles, the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority, ONATEL Burundi, Telkom Kenya Ltd., Telecommunicacões de Mocambique (TDM), U-COM Burundi, Uganda Telecom Ltd., Zantel Tanzania and most recently, TelOne Zimbabwe and Libyan Post, Telecom and Information Technology Company (LPTIC).



EASSy Cable Route


EASSy Cable System Connectivity
EASSy Cable System Connectivity


The South Africa Far East (SAFE) cable is a 13,500 km optical fiber submarine cable linking South Africa, Mauritius, La Réunion, India and Malaysia, ready for service in April 2002.

The SAFE Consortium includes Angola Telecom, AT&T, BT, Camtel, China Telecom, Chunghwa Telecom, Cote d’Ivoire Telecom, Ghana Telecommunications Company, KPN, KT, Maroc Telecom, Mauritius Telecom, NATCOM (Nigeria), Neotel, OPT, Orange, PCCW, Proximus, SingTel, Sonatel, Sprint, Tata Communications, Telecom Italia Sparkle, Telecom Namibia, Telekom Malaysia, Telkom South Africa, Telstra, Telxius, Verizon, Vodafone, inclusive of members in SAT3/WACS. 

The SAFE cable system was supplied by Tyco Submarine Systems (now SubmCom).

The SAFE cable lands at the following cable landing stations:

  • Mtunzini, South Africa
  • Melkbosstrand, South Africa
  • St. Paul, La Reunion
  • Baie Jacotet, Mauritius
  • Cochin, India
  • Penang, Malaysia

The SAFE cable system consists of two fiber pairs, with an initial design capacity of 10Gbps, and upgraded to 130Gbps.

SAFE and SAT-3 / WASC are commonly considered as one cable system SAT-3/WASC/SAFE, forming a 28000km submarine cable linking Europe, Africa and Asia.

At the Melkbosstrand cable landing station in South Africa, the SAT-3 / WASC and the SAFE are interconnected.

The SAT-3 / WASC cable spans approxiamately 14,500 km connecting South Africa, West Africa and Europe, northwards to Sesimbra in Portugal, with a total capacity of 120 Gbps.


SAFE Cable Route


The RJCN (or Russia-Japan Cable Network) is a 1800-km submarine cable system with diverse cable routes connecting Japan and Russia, with a design capacity of 640 Gbps. The RJCN was ready for service on September 5 2008. By interconnecting with the Transit Europe Asia (TEA) terrestrial cable, the RJCN and the TEA can offer the shortest latency (approximately 196 ms) between Tokyo and London. And 10 Gbps transparent wavelength is available on the RJCN and TEA route.

The Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System (HSCS) is a 500km undersea cable system between Ishikari, Hokkaido in Japan and Nevelsk, Sakhalin in Russia, jointly built by TTK and NTT, ready for service on July 3, 2008

The HSCS has a inital design capacity of 640 Gbps.

In 2018, the HSCS was upgraded with 200 Gbps DWDM technology for a total system capacity up to 5.4 Tbps, and activated the first 100 Gbps channel between Tokyo and Amsterdam. 

With the seamless combination of the HSCS and TTK's terrestrial backbone across Russia to Europe, it forms a low latency route, Europe-Russia-Japan (ERJ), with latency (RTD) of 144ms between Tokyo and Amsterdan.

Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE-1) is a 25,000km submarine cable from South East Asia to Europe across Egypt, connecting Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia,Singapore, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France.

The AAE-1 consortium signed the construction and maintenance agreement in Hong Kong on January 27, 2014, and launched the AAE-1 cable system for commerical service in June 2017.

The AAE-1 cable system is designed with 100Gbps technology, with a designed trunk capacity of more than 40 Tbps on 5 fiber pairs.

With diversified carrier neutral terminations at Telecom House in Hong Kong, Equinix SG3 and Global Switch in Singapore, and InterXion MRS1 in Marseille, France, AAE-1 is the unique robust, highcapacity low-latency bandwidth solution along the Eurasia corridor. 

AAE-1 Cable System Design

The Gulf to Africa (G2A) submarine cable system connects Salalah (Oman) to Bosaso (Puntland, Somalia) and Berbera (Somaliland, Somalia). 

The G2A Consortium comprises Omantel (Oman), Telesom (Somaliland, Somalia), Golis (Puntland, Somalia) and Ethio Telecom (Ethiopia). The G2A cable system is supplied by Xtera.

The G2A cable system comprises two fiber pairs, over a 1,500km subsea segment and a 1,500km terrestrial segment, with a system capacity of 20Tbps using 100G technology.

G2A Cable Route

The IOX Cable System spans about 8,850 km,connects Mauritius and Rodrigues to the East Coast of South Africa on one side and the East Coast of India on the other. The IOX Cable System consists of 4 fiber pairs in its trunk, with design capacity of 13.5 Tbps per fiber pair and 54 Tbps for the whole system. The IOX Cable system will reinforce Mauritius as a hub in sub-Saharan Africa.

The IOX Cable System will be the first open cable system in the region and is targeted to be completed in 2019.

The Mauritius and Rodrigues Submarine Cable System (MARS) is a 700km undersea cable connecting the Indian Ocean Islands of Rodrigues and Mauritiuswith, with a bandwidth design capacity of 16Tbit/s. The MARS cable system is built by PCCW Global, Mauritius Telecom and Huawei Marine.

The MARS cable system is expected to ready for service in 2019.

The India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) will connect Mumbai to Europe and interconnect to the east coast of the US.

The IEX cable is built by Reliance Jio Infocomm and is expected to be operational in early 2023.

The LION2 (Lower Indian Ocean NetWork II) is a 2700km submarine cable network connecting LION1 to Mayotte and Mombasa, Kenya. The Lion2 is an extension of the LION1.

The LION2 consortium includes France Telecom-Orange and its subsidiaries Mauritius Telecom, Orange Madagascar and Telkom Kenya, and other service providers Emtel, Societe Reunionnaise du Radiotelephone and STOI Internet.

The LION2 cable system costs about $76 million with $42 million coming directly from France Telecom.

The LION2 cable system was ready for service in April 2012, with a design capacity of 1.28Tbps.

The LION2 submarine cable is connected through a new landing station at Nyali, Mombasa, built and operated by Telkom Kenya.


LION1 is a 1000km submarine cable connecting Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius, with 1.28Tbps design capacity. LION 1 was ready for service in March, 2010.

The LION 1 consortium comprises Orange Madagascar, Mauritius Telecom and France Telecom S.A.. Overall, the LION project cost an estimated US$37 million. 

Aletar is a 787 km submarine cable system connecting Tartous in Syria to Alexandria in Egypt. 

The Aletar cable system consists of two fibre pairs with eight optical amplifiers, with a design capacity of 5 Gbps, ready for service on April 7, 1997.

The Aletar consortium comprises Egyptian  Telecom. Management(Telecom Egypt, 46.875%), Syrian Telecom. Est.(46.875%),Lebanese Ministry of Telecom (6.25%).L.ebanese Ministry Of Telecom.


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LEV is a 2600km submarince cable system in the Mediterranean Sea linking Italy, Cyprus and Israel.

The LEV cable system has a design transmission capacity of 20 Gbps, ready for service in March 1999.

The LEV cable consists of 2 fiber pairs. Each fiber pair has the initial design capacity of 8 wavelengths of 2.5G. The LEV cable system forms a ring pretection among the cable landing station, each 2 landing points have exactly one fiber pair connecting them, forming one fiber ring with total capacity of 20Gbps.

The LEV cable system lands at the following stations:

  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Yeroskipou, Cyprus
  • Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, Italy
  • Catania, Sicily, Italy (terrestrial extension from Mazara del Vallo to Catania)

LEV cable route


The Melting Pot Indianoceanic Submarine System (METISS) is a fibre optic cable system connecting Mauritius to South Africa, consists of 3,200 km trunk from Mauritius to South Africa and branching units to Reunion Island and Madagascar, with design capacity of 24Tbps.

The METISS consortium comprises Canal+ Télécom, CEB Fibernet, Emtel, Zeop, SRR (SFR) Telma. The METISS consortium has contracted Liquid Telecom to act as the Landing Party in South Africa, responsible for the installation of the terrestrial component of the METISS cable system and the operational aspects of the system in South Africa.

In South Africa, the METISS cable lands to a beach manhole at Pipeline Beach in Amanzimtoni, in the south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The Amanzimtoni cable landing staion is an existing faclilites owned by Liquid Telecom South Africa which hosts and manages the METISS submarine cable and provides backhaul to carrier neutral Teraco data center.

The METISS cable system is supplied by ASN. The project costs about EUR 50 million.

The METISS cable system has been in-service since March 2021.


METISS Cable Route