Omani telco Nawras plans to invest more in undersea cables once the current TGN submarine cable is ready this summer, as the operator looks to build its data services and international connectivity, according to a report from Omani newspaper, Muscat Daily.
Salim al Ma'ashani, chairman of Nawras, said that the new cable is to "reduce the cost of international traffic and create new sources of revenue." The cable is expected to improve performance for Nawras' internet users and to lower its dependence on the incumbent Omantel's infrastructure.
However, Tore Solberg, chief commercial officer of Nawras said that even when the TGN cable becomes operational, Narwas will still require additional capacity. He added that the telco has to invest in one or two more cable systems to be able to achieve total independence and make it more competitive for consumers and corporate businesses in the country, according to the local newspaper. "We are actually in talks with Omantel to be part of the new cable being laid via Iran," he added.
Solberg said that having its own cable system will enable Nawras to offer competitive international services. "For example, when we have our own cable and a local bank here needs to have connectivity to a bank partner in Qatar, we can sell them data connectivity," he said.
Nawras' parent company, Qtel, signed an agreement with Tata Communications in March 2010 to participate in the TATA Global Network (TGN) undersea cable network and gain the exclusive landing party in Oman.
The other operators supporting the TGN cable network are Bahrain Internet Exchange, Qtel, Mobily of Saudi Arabia and Etisalat of UAE.
Another submarine cable to be fully operational by this year end in Oman is the 15,000 km Europe-India Gateway (EIG), in which Omantel has invested around $55 million. The $700 million cable is expected to enhance the international capacity between the Middle East, Europe and Asia.