The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has provided Seychelles-based broadband/pay-TV operator Intelvision a USD10 million direct loan and an additional USD10 million loan via partners under the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Programme (MCPP). The funding will enable Intelvision to connect to the upcoming Seychelles branch of the in-deployment 2Africa subsea fibre-optic cable – expected to be ready for service by late 2023 – increasing the speed and capacity of Intelvision’s fixed broadband services whilst also supporting the company’s delayed plans for launching mobile services.
According to the IFC, the Seychelles 2Africa cable branch will deliver over 600Gbps of international bandwidth to Intelvision via a 15-year leasing agreement with Vodafone Carrier Services, boosting connectivity for households and business customers (augmenting Intelvision’s existing connection to the Seychelles East Africa System [SEAS]). Intelvision chairman Mukesh Valabhji announced: ‘We are pleased to work together with Vodafone and IFC amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Our aim is to enhance the telecommunication infrastructure of Seychelles and strengthen our digital offering.’ Marcelle Ayo, IFC country manager for Seychelles, declared that the project will ‘help the country meet growing demand for internet connectivity while helping to lower prices to build a strong foundation for the country’s digital economic development.’ The IFC’s release added that the new international cable system will also allow Intelvision to ‘eventually’ launch 4G and 5G mobile networks to the whole of main island Mahe and the inner islands.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Intelvision has been assigned 5G-suitable mobile frequencies, whilst in October 2019 the operator revealed a strategy to enter the mobile market in partnership with Huawei, although its initial plan to begin 4G/5G network rollout in 2020 was delayed. The local mobile sector is currently a duopoly of Airtel and Cable & Wireless Seychelles.