Mauritius Telecom plans to build a subsea cable connecting Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, and Asia.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the telco is in talks with operators including Reliance Jio and Orange to build the new cable.

Mauritious telecom t3 landing.jpg
Mauritius Telecom landing the T3 cable – Mauritius Telecom

The report said Mauritius Telecom CEO Kapil Reesaul revealed the cable will be called T4 and will offer 1,000 times more capacity than the existing South Africa Far East (SAFE) cable the company has a stake in.

The T4 cable is expected to replace the 13,500 km (8,400 miles) SAFE cable and will run a similar route that spans South Africa, Madagascar, La Reunion, Mauritius, India, and Singapore.

Timelines and other details of the route were not shared.

Reesaul said: “With so many cable breakdowns we are having, we want to secure the Far East with a cable that will run from Mauritius to India and Singapore.”

The SAFE cable landed in 2002 and the Mauritius and Rodrigues Submarine Cable System, (MARS) landed in the region in 2019. The Lower Indian Ocean Network (LION) also connects Mauritius to Madagascar and South Africa. SAFE and LION are both operated by Mauritius Telecom.

Mauritius Telecom landed its T3 subsea cable in Mauritius last year. The cable was a partial revival of the IOX submarine cable that was set to connect Mauritius with South Africa and India. First announced in 2017, the project was dropped in 2019.

The telco began as a state-owned telegraph entity on the island. It was incorporated in 1988 as Mauritius Telecommunication Services and merged with Overseas Telecommunications Services (formerly Cable & Wireless) in 1992. What was then France Telecom (now Orange) took a 40 percent stake in the company in 2000, with the government retaining more than 30 percent ownership and local bank SBM owning around 19 percent.

In March, four cables were damaged in a suspected landslide across the coast of West Africa causing two-hour outages in South Africa.

Several subsea cables were also damaged off the coast of Yemen in February, thought to be caused by a ship attacked by Houthi rebels. A cargo ship heavily damaged by a recent Houthi attack dragged its anchor, damaging the cables.

Attentions have recently turned to bypassing Yemen in light of recent cable damage and operators have begun considering alternative fiber routes.