If you've been experiencing slow data speed or finding it difficult to access the internet, MTN says sorry, "Please bear with us. Our technical teams are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible."

When a breakdown warrants such an apology from the largest telecommunication company in Africa, the situation must be critical and most likely beyond control. MTN Nigeria, in the apology letter it released on Friday, said damage to two international undersea cables caused the challenges customers are experiencing at the moment.

[MTN Nigeria, on January 18 5:34 PM, announced on Twitter that it has resolved all internet issues]

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Although, for customers in areas with poor coverage, the breakdown might not be so noticeable. Similar to the way most Nigerians, living in blackout, did not notice the recent and 12th national grid collapse in 13 months.

Nigerians are not the only people affected.

According to NetBlocks.org, a non-governmental organisation founded in 2017 to monitor cybersecurity and internet governance, up to 14 African countries aside from Nigeria were affected by the undersea cable damage. The countries include South Africa, Cameroon, Niger, Mali and Gabon.

source: NetBlock

The two international undersea cables damaged, according to Openserve Fibre, are WACS and SAT3 cable systems. They pass through the Atlantic Ocean and connect most African countries to Europe. The largest telecommunications infrastructure provider in South Africa—Openserve—ascertained on Friday that the SAT3 cable break is in Libreville, Gabon, while the WACS cable break is in Congo.

However, the cause still remains unknown, Bloomberg reported. According to Vodacom Group, a ship has been sent from Cape Town, South Africa, to repair the cables. But the biggest mobile network operator in South Africa—Vodacom, which is also affected by the damage, does not know when the cables will be repaired.

Most, if not all mobile network operators in the region are affected by the international undersea cable damage.

While MTN said it has already begun to find alternative route of connectivity, customers, particularly Nigerians, are impatient. They will switch to another network (that is working fairly).

source: NCC

According to the industry report released by the Nigerian Communications Commission in November 2019, MTN has the largest market share with 67.3 million subscribers.


Update: [MTN Nigeria, on January 18 5:34 PM, announced on Twitter that it has resolved all internet issues]