Kalaam acquires Zajil to become one of the top three ISP providers in GCC
Capacity caught up with Veer Arjun Passi, CEO of Kalaam Telecom Group, to understand what the acquisition will mean for international customers and how it ties into the company's future plans.
Q. For those unaware, who is Kalaam and what is its history in the telecoms market?
Launched in 2005, Kalaam Telecom is the first alternative licensed telecommunications provider established in Bahrain. The company has grown significantly, both organically and through Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As), to become a leading One-Stop-Solution Provider in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with an eye on international expansion, with offices in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and Singapore. Kalaam offers agile and disruptive industry technologies, including SD-WAN, IoT, Cloud, Security and Unified Communications, in addition to core telecom services.
Kalaam has recently launched its own terrestrial cable system called KNOT (Kalaam Network Optical Transit), which spans 1,400km across Kuwait, Bahrain, KSA, UAE and Qatar, underpinning the digital economy of the GCC and empowering us to be a one-stop-shop operator in the region.
Q. Tell us a little about Zajil and their value to you as Kalaam?
Kalaam’s acquisition of Zajil will make it a group with USD100 million revenue and boost its regional market share.
The combined entity will become one of the top three ISP providers in GCC, with the only one having a licence in three GCC countries. Furthermore, the acquisition will grow the international footprint of Kalaam to 25 countries in MENA, Europe, US & Asia with 53 fully-owned Point of Presence (PoPs).
Additionally, Zajil has ownership in the Europe-India Gateway cable (EIG), a 15,000km international fiber-optic submarine cable system that links 12 countries across three continents. Alongside Kalaam’s new KNOT terrestrial cable, it enables us to offer a unique combination of Submarine and Terrestrial options to customers, especially Hyperscalers, Cloud Operators and Content Players.
Zajil is hailed as Kuwait’s first Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the region's leading MPLS Service Provider. It is a leading information technology and communication service provider in MENA with over 30 years of experience.
Zajil’s global state-of-the-art MPLS network is fully resilient and fail-safe, cemented with 39 completely-owned and managed PoPs across 25 countries. Its data center in Kuwait is considered one of the most advanced data centers in the country, providing cloud services to major corporate clients from different sectors, including: Banking, Oil & Gas, Retail, Telecommunications and Transportation. Zajil also has data centers in Bahrain, Jordan, KSA, UAE and the UK that are fully resilient.
Q. What will this acquisition mean for international customers and how they can do business with Kalaam in the future?
The acquisition will enable Kalaam to leverage the combined international footprint, especially in the MENA, to expand its enterprise solutions and wholesale services across the region and beyond. With licenses in three countries in GCC and global PoPs, the group aims to be a one-stop-provider for the international carriers and enterprises in the region to meet their demand across all the product lines, including: capacity, DIA, managed solutions, SD-WAN, security etc.
The combined entity will increase its international PoPs to 53 across 25 countries and give stimulus to the wholesale business, making Kalaam the largest regional carrier in terms of PoPs, which is considered a great strength and will offer Kalaam a significant opportunity to expand its enterprise solutions across MENA.
Furthermore, Zajil’s ownership in EIG, combined with Kalaam’s KNOT, will provide highly redundant solutions, connecting Asia, MENA and Europe with a mix of terrestrial and submarine cables. This will be attractive to hyperscaler and cloud operators as they establish their Edge nodes in the MENA region.
Q. What is the roadmap for the company over the next 12 months?
Having a track record of successful acquisitions in the Kuwaiti market, Kalaam will work towards the integration of Tawasul and Zajil’s services and offerings, creating a stronger regional brand.
Kalaam will continue to grow its presence in the region, with an aim to accelerate its growth in KSA. Given Zajil’s ISP license, it provides a significant opportunity to build and expand the enterprise portfolio in the largest GCC country.
Kalaam is strongly suited to be the leading ICT company in the Gulf, having strong presence in the enterprise, wholesale and channel businesses. The company will continue to nurture its offerings to these segments by further integrating a comprehensive suite of products and solutions.