Executive interview with Giuseppe Sini, head of Retelit International BU
Now that it enjoys world class connectivity with the booming economies of Asia, Italian carrier Retelit is planning further growth as well as expansion of its service portfolio
Following Retelit’s highly successful move into the global carrier ser-vices market in 2017, the Italian provider of data and infrastructure services is gearing up for the next phase of its development.
With the launch last summer of the AAE-1 submarine cable system, in which Retelit is a key stakeholder, the carrier is able to offer high speed connectivity between Europe and Asia via the Middle East. Thanks to the landing station it has built for the cable in Bari on Italy’s east coast, taking AAE-1 away from the route taken by many other Mediterranean cables, Retelit offers an important element of diversity on the cable’s journey from Marseille to Hong Kong, tou-ching 19 countries as it goes.
“Thanks to our investment in AAE-1, we had a very successful 2017, hitting our targets in terms of both volume and value of bu-siness,” says Giuseppe Sini, head of Retelit’s international busi-ness unit. “Less than six months from starting to carry commercial traffic on AAE-1, we have already been more successful than we expected. Demand from Asia to Europe and vice versa is increasing quickly. There has been pricing pressure, of course, but the volume of demand is mitigating a lot of that.”
Retelit’s aim of moving beyond its strengths in Europe and repo-sitioning itself in the global arena has been met: “The market now recognises us as a key player, and that was one of our main goals,” he claims.
Retelit’s international success, says Sini, has been built around delivering what customers really want: “Our strategy was firstly to invest in our infrastructure in Italy, including our landing station in Bari,” he points out. “We also developed an innovative backhaul service which gives us a single European network from Bari to anywhere on the continent with the same service level guarantee anywhere, including large European PoPs such as Frankfurt, Lon-don, Amsterdam and Paris. Our aim throughout has been to offer diverse alternatives to the market, with premium landing, safe and diverse routes and better latency.”
He explains that the element of diversity is very important to Re-telit’s carrier and content customers: “Content players and OTTs are very sensitive about resiliency and latency,” he says. “They are now the main dirvers of the capacity demand on the subsea routes because they want to control their backbones and get closer to their customers.”
Now he says Retelit is executing the next phase of its evolution: “Stage one was about addressing the needs of inbound traffic co-ming into Europe from the Far East. Now the next step is deliver European traffic to markets like Singapore and Hong Kong. We’re looking beyond just the selling of lots of bandwidth by moving to extend our footprint and build our value-added service portfolio.”
Late in 2017, Retelit announced the first fruit of this new phase by signing a commercial agreement of a commercial agreement with a leading Asian telecommunications name. In a deal extending for over 20 years, Retelit will provide the carrier with 1.1 Tbps of capacity on AAE-1. The partnership will also give Retelit access to a wide range of services at competitive prices to complete its international offer for the Italian market and will also see it pursue its network and points of presence expansion strategy, starting with the vital Asian hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong.
“Our new Asian partner chose us in preference to others, not simply on price but for our ability to be flexible and because we own our own high speed network in Europe granting them the quality of service to access to European contents they need,” believes Sini. “They are now a partner that will also support us as we grow our businesses together.”
This year will see Retelit activating a new ring in the Mediterrane-an and 150 Gbps on multiple links on diverse routes from Italy to Singapore and Hong Kong completing the Eurasia Ethernet MEF network with redundancy on three different paths. Furthermore, lightning the 100 Gbps network extension to Sicily over its own fibre to add further density in that region: “The Open Hub Med (of which Retelit is a stakeholder) and the Sicily Hub data centres in Palermo will be connected to our own fibre so that, by June, Italy will con-solidate its strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean as a landing for international traffic into Europe,” he says. “Our Marsei-iles PoP also connected to Italy with proprietary fibre will be open for business in the first half of this year granting Retelit the exclusive possibility to offer a terrestrial protection to the Mediterranenan submarine portion to Marseille from Bari and from Sicily.”