The Local Content Delivery Cache in Mauritius

With the growth of bandwidth in Mauritius, the number of local content delivery caches have also increased. The first local cache server was introduced in 2009 by Mauritius Telecom for delivery of Akamai content. Since then, Emtel has also introduced its own cache for various content.

Google Cache (Google Search, Youtube, Playstore, etc) [Google Global Cache]

  • Mauritius Telecom GGC #1 – 196.27.66.64/26
  • Mauritius Telecom GGC #2 – 196.27.66.128/26
  • Mauritius Telecom GGC #3 – 196.27.66.192/26
  • Mauritius Telecom GGC #4 – 197.226.227.0/26
  • Emtel GGC #1 – 105.235.153.128/26

Akamai Cache

  • Mauritius Telecom AK #1 – 196.27.66.0/26
  • Emtel AK #1 – 105.235.153.192/26

Netflix Cache [Netflix Open Connect]

  • Mauritius Telecom NOC #1 – 197.226.224.0/30

Facebook/Instagram Cache [Facebook Network Appliance]

  • Mauritius Telecom FNA #1 – 197.226.226.0/26
  • Mauritius Telecom FNA #2 – 197.226.226.64/26
  • Emtel FNA #1 – 105.235.156.128/26
Advertisements

ChiLi By MTML 4G/LTE Tested!

The 4G/LTE network of ChiLi by MTML is pretty much live in most regions of Mauritius where we tested.

A speedtest performed at https://orange.speedtestcustom.com on Mauritius Telecom Port Louis server yielded the following result which is quite good but lacking compared to Orange by Mauritius Telecom and Emtel. Since the 4G network of ChiLi is very new and therefore should have a very low number of users connected via 4G, we expected that a much higher speed could be attained on a local speedtest.

ChiLi 4G Speedtest

ChiLi by MTML 4G network is using the same band as its competitors, that is, Band 3 (1800) and most probably has the same amount of spectrum at 20Mhz.

Considering that the following speeds were obtained on Orange and Emtel respectively, then, nothing impressive to discuss about ChiLi, but still, ChiLi provides the cheapest data package at an adequate speed, enough for most internet users. 😊

Orange 4G Speedtest
Emtel Platinum 4G Speedtest

What if Emtel Airbox was TheBox?

Asking the right question is key to healthy competition. What if Emtel Airbox was TheBox at launch?

Dear Mr. Teddy Bhullar (CEO of Emtel)

Presenting to you TheBox – A Proposal by InternetInMauritius.

TheBox will be different from any other technology you have encountered before in Mauritius. TheBox will able to compete with Fibre-To-The-Home and provide guaranteed speed at peak hours (advertised as “up to”, but guaranteed – UNDER PROMISE, OVER DELIVER). TheBox is no FTTA gimmick, it is all about 4G+, not platinum 4G or whatever word you come up with.

Start by diversifying your network by first deploying the METISS cable, you’re taking too long…time is critical. Then, start peering at major internet exchanges in Europe and Africa or buy more transit. Whichever you want, but give us lower latency than the competitors.

And with the amount of towers available in Mauritius by Emtel, start by connecting all your tower via FIBRE to your backbone, keep wireless P2P as backup. Then start equipping all these with eNodeB (LTE Base Station). Then deploy 4G in multiple bands. To do that, refarm the whole 800 spectrum for 4G, refarm 900 Mhz spectrum by eliminating 2G, keep existing 4G on 1800 and request ICTA to make 2600 available for LTE. So overall, the following bandwidth should be available for 4G.

  • 10Mhz on Band 20
  • 10Mhz on Band 8 (Huawei B618)
  • 20Mhz on Band 3
  • 20Mhz on Band 7

So a total of 400 Mbps should be achievable per sector using 64QAM. For 3 sectors, that should be 1200 Mbps.

Now, for the subscriber module, choose Huawei B2338 outdoor modem. Limit the number of subscribers to 20 per sector and provide the following packages – 30Mbps, 60Mbps and 100Mbps.

An outdoor modem would be desired since it prevents customers from moving their modems around and degrading the network signal, resulting in numerous customer complaints about slow speed. But if use of outdoor modem is not desirable, a proper alternative is the Huawei B618 indoor modem.

Tadaaaaa!!! Your solution to healthy competition.

To the people at Emtel, you’re smart enough and you should have known that this is the only way you can compete with FTTH…

EDIT:

Not this crap again http://globtelholding.tumblr.com/tagged/LTE-AIR-5G-AIR-5G

LTE?? 5G?? over 50km?? Enough of Globtel blah blah…Huawei/Ericsson ALL THE WAY

Emtel & Mauritius Telecom – Redundancy

Mauritius is at present connected directly to two submarine cables, the SAFE cable with landing points at Melkbosstrand,  Mtunzini (South Africa) and LION cable with landing point at Nyali (Kenya). From these cables, data then go through other cables such as WACS, SAT3, ACE for South Africa and DARE, EASSY, Seacom and TEAMS for Kenya.

On the 12th of July, just after Melkbosstrand, an incident occurred on the SAT3 cable which severely disrupted international connectivity while simultaneously a cable break occurred on the EASSY cable near Mogadishu.

However, Mauritius Telecom having invested heavily in most of the submarine cables on both east and west coast of Africa re-routed their impacted links to other cables with a slight increase in latency while bandwidth remained unaffected. On the other hand, Emtel reported a loss of about % of their total international capacity. With that said, redundancy is almost non-existent at Emtel. A similar incident occurred last year on the EIG cable near Monaco which severely impacted Emtel with similar outcome, ie, loss of about % of total international capacity. One year later, Emtel haven’t learned from their past mistakes.

Emtel, with two upstream providers, Telia and Belgacom, delivered at London and Marseilles respectively should share their routes from these cities to Mauritius on different cables, just like Mauritius Telecom. Nearer upstream providers should be found such as Hurricane Electric in Kenya, Djibouti Telecom at Djibouti, Etisalat at UAE. Relying on single routing is unacceptable, diversify routing for redundancy to retain your customers.

In addition, many have brought forward that deployment of the two recently announced cables, METISS and IOX cable need to be accelerated. We beg to differ. Since these two cables end at South Africa, the impact of these cable breaks would not be minimised. Investments in cable on East and West Africa to Europe is key to redundancy.

Therefore, it is undeniable that such incidents with major impacts on Emtel network are unacceptable in 2017.

While a cable break on SAFE or LION just after Mauritius resulting in loss in 50% international connectivity would be acceptable, but a cable break after SAFE and LION cable resulting in major impact on internet is completely unacceptable. Stop playing “wait for cable repair” game, diversify NOW.

With fierce competition between 3 mobile operators for a population of only 1.3 million people, Emtel has started its diversification with the launch of Airbox in 2015. With ChiLi being super aggressive, new sources of revenues are needed. OTT services are aggressively replacing traditional SMS and calls and revenues from these are falling. It’s high time to learn where to throw money.

With the fixed internet market mostly dominated by Mauritius Telecom, Airbox by Emtel was supposed to stop this reign. However, investment in underdeveloped technology called FTTA by Globtel was a big mistake. Money needs to be invested in mature technology backed by billions of dollar in R&D by Nokia (Alcatel Lucent), Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE such as 4G (LTE and LTE-A).

Competing with FTTH is possible. It is high time for Emtel to acquire LTE licence in the 2600 MHz spectrum and launch Fixed Wireless Broadband on TDD-LTE with Huawei B2338 outdoor modem. The only proven solution which can dominate FTTH as of now. THE ONLY SOLUTION…TO COMPETE WITH FTTH.

LTE-A (4G+) Soon in Mauritius?

LTE-A, short for Long Term Evolution Advanced is the next generation of LTE. It employs the use of carrier aggregation in order to drastically increase LTE speed.

Per Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks#Africa), Mauritius has been among the first to introduce LTE in Africa. All three mobile operators currently operate their LTE network on Band 3 (1800 MHz) and all spectrum available have already been allocated. In order to make use of carrier aggregation, new bands would have to be used.

Recently, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) has decided to allow operators to operate LTE on Band 8 (900 MHz) (https://www.icta.mu/documents/decision_refarming900MHz.pdf). As compared to Band 3, Band 8 has a lower bandwidth capacity, however it has better penetration capability as compared to the higher frequencies of Band 3. This will definitely improve LTE indoors.

The addition of Band 7 (2600 Mhz) would also be appreciated due to its high bandwidth capacity, especially for Fixed Wireless Broadband such as Airbox through the use of an outdoor modem.

The right decision has and will always be to ditch FTTA and Wi-Fi based technology such as Cambium, Ubiquiti, etc and move over to technology designed for high speed fixed wireless broadband (4G, 5G).

Update: 8/7/17

New LTE modems with support for LTE-A/4G+ in Mauritius. The model is Huawei B618s-22 with a theoretical maximum speed of 582Mbps in a 4*4 MIMO configuration.

 

100% increase in international bandwidth capacity from 2015 to 2016

The international bandwidth in Mauritius has increased by almost 100% during 2016 to reach 42.5 Gbps by December 2016 according to the statistics released by ICTA.

This large increase is mostly associated to the deployment of fibre by Mauritius Telecom with speeds increasing by 10 folds upon conversion from ADSL to FTTH.

2017 will be another interesting year since Mauritius Telecom has been aggressively adding additional capacity through Etisalat and peering with FranceIX and LINX.

Another large influential factor is OTT services which are replacing traditional calls and SMS in the daily life of Mauritians.

From the chart above, the volume of calls in Mauritius has been steadily decreasing where it peaked at its maximum in 2013. Similarly the number of calls and SMS sent have decreased since 2013 with a very slight increase in 2015 and 2016.

The Mystery about ChiLi (MTML) 4G/LTE Network

4G/LTE network is not new to the Mauritian mobile users. The technology has been part of everyone’s daily life since 2012 when 4G was launched by Orange (Mauritius Telecom) and Emtel weeks apart. The initial launch with much fanfare had very very limited coverage. But rapidly, week by week, works were being performed on telecommunications towers to upgrade existing equipment to 4G capable ones and now in 2017, 4G network by both Orange and Emtel are readily available in most regions in Mauritius.

However same cannot be said for Mauritius’s third mobile network operator, ChiLi by MTML. The latter had announced the launch of 4G in May 2015 and since then, absolute silence. Last month, it has been 2 years since the announcement and yet no progress in the deployment of 4G has been made.

During the last quarter of 2017, several tender and RFPs have been issued by the company for the deployment of 4G and acquisition of 4G modems and 4G capable USIMs and as per an article published by defimedia (http://defimedia.info/chili-investit-rs-100-m-pour-etendre-son-reseau-4g), deployment of 4G by ChiLi was supposed to be completed by February 2017. SO, the big question, how is the deployment progressing? In fact, has the deployment even started?

It should be known that deployment of 4G by both Orange and Emtel were performed on a region per region basis and were/are activated upon successful installation and testing. So, why is ChiLi trying to launch full 4G coverage of Mauritius in one go? Is it due to an imminent threat against Emtel’s Airbox and Mauritius Telecom’s my.t with their launch of a competing product since they had an RFP for 4G modems with RJ45 (ethernet) output?

Anyway, we are several months past the expected completion date and no news or announcement has been made regarding the matter…

Now, Mauritius was among the early adopters of 4G in Africa. But now, we are severely lagging behind. So far, no mobile operators have launched 4G+ (LTE Advanced) in Mauritius while across the pond, in Reunion Island, they were very late to the 4G party but they now have 4G+ network. ChiLi is also considered as a very late adopter of 4G, but why did they not deploy 4G+ directly and save equipment cost in the very near future?

Likewise, Emtel could make great use of 4G+ since their Airbox on LTE service is hogging 4G bandwidth from mobile users. The deployment of 4G+ would have helped alleviate the burden of poor speed during peak hours due to its higher capacity. The additional capacity could also be used to launch 20 Mbps and 30 Mbps Airbox on 4G.

The saga does not stop here. No mobile operators in Mauritius currently support VoLTE (Voice over LTE) and it should be noted that the customer supports of both Orange and Emtel do not even know what is VoLTE. At least, Emtel has put a mention on their website that their 4G network does not support VoLTE.

Emtel VoLTE

Without VoLTE, the connection has to fall back to 3G each time a call is made or received and that is not a desired behaviour.

Additionally, Orange requires that at least a weekly mobile data package be activated in order to connect to their 4G network. This is to ensure that you do not mistakenly waste all your money when browsing without a data pack.

To wrap this, Mauritius was the first, but now Mauritius is becoming the last…

Update: ChiLi 4G is now live! https://internetinmauritius.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/chili-by-mtml-4glte-tested/

Comparison of Mobile Data Packages between Orange, Emtel and ChiLi

Mobile Data Packages in Mauritius

# Orange Emtel ChiLi
 Daily 30 MB – Rs 10 40 MB – Rs 10
UL 1 GB – Rs 51
40 MB – Rs 6
50 MB – Rs 20
 Weekly 200 MB – Rs 49
400 MB – Rs 99
250 MB – Rs 49
750 MB – Rs 99
400 MB – Rs 45
UL 5 GB – Rs 517.5
 Monthly 1 GB – Rs 299
3 GB – Rs 699
5 GB – Rs 999
10 GB – Rs 1,499
20 GB – Rs 1,999
50 GB – Rs 2,999
1 GB – Rs 249
UL 1.25 GB – Rs 299
UL 2 GB – Rs 499
UL 3 GB – Rs 649
UL 25 GB – Rs 949
750 MB – Rs 86.25
1.25 GB – Rs 225
2.5 GB – Rs 425
5 GB – Rs 900
10 GB – Rs 1,400

UL = Unlimited
Emtel Packages – Beyond usage of specified limit, speed will be reduced to 1 Mbps download and 512 Kbps upload till expiration of package.
ChiLi Packages – Beyond usage of specified limit, speed will be reduced to 512 Kbps download till expiration of package.

Considering cost only, ChiLi by MTML has the cheapest packages for daily, weekly and monthly and Orange by Mauritius Telecom has the most expensive packages.

Note: Only data allocated in each plans were considered, some plans offer free calls and SMS including free Facebook and/or Whatsapp.

The Unlimited Mobile Data, Call & SMS plans in Mauritius

Unlimited packs have been very rare in Mauritius. Out of the three mobile operators in Mauritius, ChiLi by MTML has kickstarted the unlimited trend with a launch-spree of several unlimited packs during the last semester of 2016.

With the recent launch of Emtel’s unlimited packs, let’s look at an overview of all the different packages proposed by our local operators, namely Mauritius Telecom (Orange), Emtel, and MTML (ChiLi).

Unlimited Data Packages

Orange Emtel ChiLi
 None  Daily 1GB Unlimited – Rs 51  Night Unlimited – Rs 56.4
 Monthly 1.25GB Unlimited – Rs 299  Weekly 5GB Unlimited – Rs 517.5
 Monthly 2GB Unlimited – Rs 499
 Monthly 3GB Unlimited – Rs 649
 Monthly 25GB Unlimited – Rs 949

Unlimited Call Packages

Orange Emtel ChiLi
 Daily – Rs 44.85 (Love Pack)  Daily – Rs 39  Daily – Rs 40.25
 Monthly – Rs 479  2 Days – Rs 57.5
 Weekly – Rs 138

Unlimited SMS Packages

Orange Emtel ChiLi
 None  Daily – Rs 5  Daily – Rs 46
 Monthly – Rs 149

Unlimited COMBO packages (Includes Data, Call & SMS)

Orange Emtel ChiLi
 None  Daily – Rs 74  None
 Monthly – Rs 995

Note: All prices are VAT inclusive.

METISS and IOX Submarine Cable

Internet speed in Mauritius has been sub-par compared to other countries in the region and one of the main reasons brought forward is the lack to international bandwidth capacity. As of today, Mauritius is connected to only two submarine cables in the name of SAFE (South Africa Far East) and LION (Lower Indian Ocean Network).

The first submarine cable connected to Mauritius, SAFE was put in service in 2002 and in its many years of operation, several upgrades have been performed to increase its capacity. The current capacity is 800 Gigabit per second which is shared by multiple operators in multiple countries. The cable has been experiencing several issues in the recent years requiring lengthy maintenance and a replacement for it will be needed in the very near future.

The second submarine cable, LION/LION2 was put in operation in 2009 and has a designed capacity of 1.28 terabits per second. The cable is shared by Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and Kenya with Orange being the major owner.


Enter METISS and IOX…


METISS, which is an acronym for MElting poT Indianoceanic Submarine System, is the first new cable announced. It was announced by a consortium of operators from multiple countries. They are Blueline, Canal+ Telecom, Emtel, SRR, Telco OI, Telma and Zeop. The cable is expected to be put into service in 2019. It was later announced that CEB FibreNet Ltd would be joining the consortium.

Initially, due to reluctance from local operators in Mauritius, the largest internet service provider in Mauritius, Mauritius Telecom was not invited to form part of the consortium. Later on, they were invited but then showed no interest since the latter decided to go ahead with IOX Cable. (Source: http://defimedia.info/mauritius-telecom-chiffre-daffaires-record-de-rs-1008-milliards)

Additionally, at CEB FibreNet Ltd, there might be a wind of change. Lately, it is rumoured that the company will invest in IOX Cable instead of METISS. (Source: http://defimedia.info/internet-haut-debit-le-ceb-prevoit-des-investissements-de-rs-200-m-rs-1-md)

Even though METISS Cable is backed by the Commission de l’océan Indien, news about METISS has been scarce…Is the project going forward? Or has it been cancelled. The islands of Indian Ocean have announced multiple projects in the recent years to introduced new submarine cable such as BRICS and others which have all been cancelled later on.

So Reunion, and mostly Zeop, get your shit together…


In Mauritius, we have another cable planned. IOX Cable, which stands for Indian Ocean eXchange, is expected to be put into service at the end of 2018 or start of 2019. The cable is backed by Mauritius Telecom (http://www.capacitymedia.com/Article/3754034/News/IOX-Cable-signs-up-Mauritius-Telecom-as-subsea-anchor-tenant) and has a design capacity of  13.5Tbps per FP…

The cable will be built in two phase. The first phase consists of connecting Rodrigues to Mauritius and then directly to the existing Seacom submarine cable in east Africa and thereafter to South Africa. The second phase will consist of extending the cable from Rodrigues to India.

IOX Cable Route

The IOX Cable might land in other countries such as Reunion or Madagascar but so far there has been no expression of interest from these countries. (Source: https://www.africametro.com/business/mauritius-iox-wants-build-international-cable-link-india-africa-not-operators-facilitators-operators)

For the funding of IOX Cable, it should be noted that most of the private equity investment is expected from Anchor Tenant operators from all connected islands, Private Equity Investors, Vendor Finance, Debt Finance & Pre-Sales

IOX Cable Update: Build agreement has been signed with Alcatel Submarine Networks – https://networks.nokia.com/news/2017/iox-cable-ltd-alcatel-submarine-networks-to-build-first-open-cable