Q&A: Loizos Economides, Head Development of Cable Facilities and Products, Cyta
Loizos Economides, Head of Development of Cable Facilities and Products at Cyta, speaks to Capacity's Jason McGee-Abe about the company's strategic priorities in the region
What have been the highlights and key developments for Cyta in the region over the past 12 months?
Being a major telecommunications hub in the Mediterranean region, in order to address an always evolving regional market, Cyta, in the past 12 months, has been actively engaged in enhancing the capabilities of various existing systems as well as developing new ones. For instance, we have proceeded with upgrading the wholly-owned fibres to Egypt and Marseille on Alexandros subsystem, as well as the wholly owned fibre from Cyprus to Chania Crete (KIMONAS), from Chania to Athens and Athens to Sofia (Cyta Greece owned network). We are also currently studying the upgrading of existing systems to other countries and further promoting our two new systems ALASIA and Europa.
What are the challenges of operating in the Eurasia market and how are you looking to tackle those challenges?
The Eurasia market has many challenges. The regularity regime is not always clear and open to all players. Markets even when liberalised remain closed because of artificial barriers which are often encouraged and supported by governments. Politics, uprisings, and governmental changes -some time violent- are prevalent in the region. The economic downturn (although also evident in other parts of the world as well) has halted a healthy Middle East, Gulf and Balkans growth in telecom services.
Projects take a long time to be implemented and many stall indefinitely. However, as an experienced player in the region we know how to act in such a challenging environment and make the most out of each situation, in order to address the current market needs in the best possible way.
What are Cyta’s strategic priorities as well as expansion plans for the region in 2016/2017?
Cyta continues focusing on enhancing and developing its connectivity both with European and recently Asian hubs as well as with the neighbouring countries. We keep utilising our unique geographical position at the crossroads of three different continents and serve the regional market with which we have geographic proximity, emphasising on owned infrastructure preferably at the level of fibre.
What major trends do you see occurring in the Eurasia market this year and how do you plan to capitalise on those?
It is not easy to identify unified trends in the region that are prevalent, since each sub region and even country, has its own particularities. However, we expect political instability in combination with weak economic conditions on most of the Balkans, Med and Middle East to affect growth. The uncertainty in the EU is spreading to the associated markets and investment may be halted in the emerging markets of this region. The role of China may be a wild card. Currently active in Africa, Chinese suppliers are encroaching in the Eurasia and Med/Gulf region although direct investment in telecom operators is not prevalent. From our part, we have established a unique regional infrastructure in order to serve the demanding needs of the region. We have developed an extensive submarine and terrestrial fibre optic cable network, linking Cyprus and Greece with Middle East, Western Europe and the Balkans. This International Network is supplemented by an extensive satellite network with three Teleports, providing connectivity to the major satellite systems. Beyond the extensive satellite, submarine and terrestrial regional network Cyta has Points of Presence (PoP) in major telecommunications centres in Europe. The new KIMONAS cable subsystem offers reciprocal business opportunities to access new markets in Europe and the Middle East, providing synergies for the Cyta Group via a common Cyprus – Greece front, creating a major telecommunications bridge between East and West.
What does your organisation hope to achieve by attending Capacity Eurasia 2016?
Since this year the conference is taking place in Athens, we have a more extensive presence with joint forces from both Cyta Cyprus and Cyta Greece. Capacity Eurasia serves as the meeting place of the international wholesale market and therefore we are planning to meet at the conference our existing partners and review the current state of our cooperation. At the same time, we will be able to identify new opportunities with less frequently met organisations and get a clearer understanding of their needs and requirements in order to fully exploit the capabilities of our extensive network infrastructure in the region.