Amazon Web Services (AWS) is launching Wavelength Zone Edge locations in Africa in partnership with Orange.

One of the zones will be in Morocco, where Oracle has confirmed plans for two new cloud regions. OVH this week also announced plans for a Local Zone Edge location in the North African country.

View over the city of Casablanca, Morocco
Casablanca, Morocco – Thinkstock / typhoonski

AWS Wavelength Zones in Morocco and Senegal

Orange and AWS this week announced that the companies will be deploying AWS Wavelength Zones in Morocco and Senegal later this year. The companies didn’t say which cities the zones would be located in.

Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services at the Edge of communications service providers’ 5G networks. The company says Wavelength minimizes latency and the network hops required to connect from a 5G device to an application hosted on AWS because application traffic can reach servers without leaving the mobile provider's network.

These will be the first Wavelength Zones located in markets where Amazon has neither a full cloud region nor Local Zones. The AWS hardware will be located in Orange data centers in each market.

Jérôme Hénique, CEO at Orange Middle East and Africa, said: “The announcement of AWS Wavelength Zones for North & West Africa is a major achievement in our strategy to foster the cloud transformation of African businesses. We are providing the benefits of AWS to Moroccan and Senegalese organizations, from SMBs to MNCs, while ensuring data residency in secure Orange data centers in combination with our best-in-class connectivity solutions.”

Amazon said it chose Orange as a partner as it wanted a “CSP partner with global reach, breadth, a depth of connectivity offerings and an ambition to scale their solution offerings to include a unique cloud value proposition.”

Orange said these are the first Wavelength Zones directly accessible both through wireless and wireline (Internet) connections. Services available within Wavelength Zones include Elastic Compute Cloud, Elastic Block Store, Elastic Container Service, Elastic Kubernetes Services, CloudWatch, and Elastic Load Balancing.

“The deployment of AWS Wavelength Zones in North and West Africa, in collaboration with Orange, will further empower customers in growing geographies with local AWS services,” said Jan Hofmeyr, vice president of EC2 Edge at AWS. “Customers of all sizes and all industries in Morocco and Senegal will be able to access local AWS compute and storage for data residency, low latency, and security needs for applications across real-time gaming and regulated industries, helping customers unlock new innovation and accelerate digital transformation.”

Wavelength Zones were first announced in partnership with Verizon in December 2019, when a pilot project was launched in Los Angeles. Wavelength Zones are now available in 19 US cities in conjunction with the US telco.

The company has also launched zones in the UK with BT and Vodafone, South Korea with SK Telecom, Germany via Vodafone, Japan through KDDI, and Canada with Bell Canada.

Telefónica has previously announced it was trialing a Wavelength Zone in Madrid, Spain, but it has yet to officially launch; Vodafone has said it will also launch a zone in Spain.

Oracle announces two cloud regions in Morocco

This week also saw Oracle confirm plans to launch public cloud regions in Morocco.

The company said the regions will be located in Casablanca and Settat, though timelines weren’t disclosed.

News of Oracle’s plans first surfaced in March after local data center operator N+One said the cloud firm was launching a cloud region from its facilities. The company operates data centers in Nouaceur and Settat.

“As one of the largest economies in Africa, and with strong business and cultural connections with West Africa, Maghreb, and Europe, Morocco offers unique growth opportunities for businesses that are aiming to accelerate their expansion by deploying the latest digital technologies,” said Richard Smith, EVP of technology, EMEA, Oracle. “The upcoming Oracle Cloud regions will offer enterprise-grade cloud capabilities to help organizations quickly deliver new solutions, build resilience, and explore new markets to help accelerate growth. The new regions will also serve as the foundation for the Moroccan government’s modernization of its public services to better serve its people.”

Oracle said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Moroccan government for the two deployments.

“The opening of Oracle’s public cloud in Morocco will accelerate the digital transformation throughout the region,” said Ghita Mezzour, Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of Digital Transition and Administrative Reform. “This strategic expansion, with a hyperscaler like Oracle, positions Morocco as a unique player in the region and allows an even more dynamic development of skills, and growth opportunities.”

This week saw European cloud provider OVHcloud announce plans to launch a Local Zone Edge location in Rabat, Morocco, in partnership with local data center operator Maroc Datacenter.

Though Amazon and OVH have small Edge cloud locations planned in Morocco, Oracle is the first major cloud provider to announce plans for a full cloud region in the country. Huawei has previously launched a North African cloud region in Egypt.

US startup is planning a 386MW AI data center in Morocco.