Sunset aboard the MV CMA CGM Amerigo Vespucci while at sea. Photo: Ben Mack
The two companies will work together on the Middle East North Africa Submarine Cable (MENA Cable) and TE North Cable Systems. In addition, Airtel will also take large capacities on a long-term basis on two new cable systems (SMW5 & AAE1).
The partnership will allow Airtel to diversify its business on major cabling systems connecting hundreds of millions of people. Ajay Chitkara, director and CEO of Airtel Business, said: “The partnership with Telecom Egypt underlines our commitment to provide world-class service experience to our customers. The partnership including MENA Cable and TE’s network will be a good addition to our global network portfolio and provide us with a high quality and diversified new route to Western Europe and the rest of the world. With the explosion of data usage in emerging markets, including India and Africa, this asset will provide us a scalable and diverse high capacity highway to serve our customers. In particular, it will provide impetus to India’s emergence as a major regional internet hub serving customers across SAARC region, with seamless global connectivity.”
Ahmed El Beheiry, CEO of Telecom Egypt, had more to say. “Telecom Egypt’s global network was built over the years through investments in consortiums as well as private international submarine cable systems,” he said. “Our reach and position as an international hub with tens of terabytes per second lit capacity, makes us the partner of choice for Euro-Asian and Euro-African transit traffic. Telecom Egypt signed the agreement with OTMT to acquire MENA Cable with the aim of capitalising on the growing traffic from India and Saudi Arabia to Europe and to obtain a new gateway to Europe through Italy.”
Egypt’s geographic location on the Red and Mediterranean seas has enabled Telecom Egypt to connect more than 11 cable systems from the East and 13 from the West linked with the Red-Med Corridor, consisting of seven diversified routes across Egypt. Airtel’s global network portfolio includes ownership of the i2i submarine cable system connecting Chennai, India to Singapore, consortium ownership of the SMW4 submarine cable system connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Singapore and Europe, and new cable system investments like the Asia America Gateway (AAG), India Middle East & Western Europe (IMEWE), Unity, EIG (Europe India Gateway) and East Africa Submarine System (EASSy). It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighbouring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China.