Africa's second largest mobile operator, Airtel, has launched its Africa Connect network, aimed at enhancing the region's connectivity to the rest of the world and add to the data capacity in the region.

Africa Connect has an integrated fiber and satellite network with over 40 points of presence (PoP) across 17 countries in Africa. The Africa Connect network is expected to offer a network of integrated telecom applications and solutions. Airtel is the region's second largest operator after MTN, with operations in 20 countries.

"With Africa seeing a significant jump in the growth of data and connectivity this initiative will help us in meeting the bandwidth requirements and diverse needs of our customers," said Andre Beyers, chief marketing officer at Airtel Africa.

The network is supported by infrastructure built by other regional carriers.  In addition to being the fastest growing telecom market in the world, Africa is also emerging as an economic hub deserving of full connection to the rest of the world, Airtel said.

Africa Connect will complement international connectivity into Africa through next-generation cables already servicing the region, including SEACOM, TEAMS, EASSY, WACS and EIG in East, West and North Africa.

The project is designed to allow enterprises and carriers to connect to key global business hubs via multiple routes.

The new network further augments Airtel's and connectivity using network interconnects that have more than 25 local network partners.

The entire network interconnects with Airtel's landing station in Mumbai, allowing access to the company's terrestrial express connectivity into the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries and infrastructure across the Pacific to the U.S.