A bridge between continents

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Italian carrier Retelit is all set for the imminent launch of the AAE-1 submarine cable, as a member of the international consortium behind it. The company’s network is connected to a landing station in Bari to support the 25,000km cable between Europe and the Far East, and Retelit has also bolstered its network in Europe. Giuseppe Sini, head of the international business unit at Retelit, explains the carrier’s role in the market and on the new cable.

What are Retelit’s main focuses at the moment?

Retelit is at a very important moment in its life cycle. We are experiencing a strong change in terms of our growth and the market. In the past few years, our strategy has been to focus on technological innovation. We are a pretty small player, but our differentiators have always been competence, quality of services and flexibility, and we are very lean and agile. The strategy we’ve put in place in recent years is to be an early mover in terms of investing in new technology – not least in global infrastructure, such as cable systems. Our aim is to bring something new in the market. We consider the international wholesale market as a very “traditional” industry, and we see that if you want to be a player in this industry in the next 10 years, you need to change a lot. 

How do you assess 2016 for the company?

We had a very successful 2016. Our positive results came especially from two areas: telecommunications services in the domestic and international market, and the cloud. Retelit has positioned itself as investing in brand new platforms and services in the cloud, such as infrastructure as a service. The company’s main objective has been to give the market end-to-end control of particular services. 

What’s your take on the market for Retelit in 2017?

We foresee a very interesting year of change in the market. We have been an early mover in terms of investing in innovation and organising the company to be very responsive to the market. This year will be important for us because the AAE-1 cable will be in operation very soon, planned by the end of the first quarter. This will represent a step forward in Retelit’s strategy – not only as a good provider in Italy and a carrier in Europe, but a player in the global arena. The company has also already expanded its footprint in Europe in recent years, with the launch of new points of presence in Frankfurt and London to help meet traffic demands.

Why did Retelit get involved in the AAE-1 submarine cable consortium?

We consider the Eurasia route to be interesting in the coming years because of the economies, markets, traffic and demand along the route. We see the role that the Mediterranean, Italy and ourselves can play in this, considering what’s happening in emerging markets in the Far East, the future promise in Africa, and the demand for connectivity between other regions and Europe. Our aim was to create a brand new route with low latency to bridge the continents, and help move Italy from a secondary role in Europe in this area. From a geographical point of view, Italy is in the middle of the Mediterranean, so is a natural gateway. We need to give the market different routes to aid diversity and what we are doing with AAE-1 helps this.

How is Retelit seeking to innovate with regard to its network and the AAE-1 cable?

One thing we do is implement and invest in the latest generation of technologies for the network and systems. And we have, for instance, recently equipped our backbone network with a new-generation 100Gbps platform that we just put in service and is ready to connect to AAE-1 to help link southern European data centres to the Far East. However, technological innovation alone is not enough; you also need to use an innovative model in the market. With regard to this, we have formed an innovative partnership with a European operator to share the spectrum on our networks using the latest generation of optical protocols. Through this unique partnership, we can deliver end-to-end backhaul services with premium SLAs, helping enable connectivity from our landing station in Bari to the rest of Europe and to AAE-1 destinations.