Omantel to launch subsea cable to East Africa

12 February 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

Omantel has announced that it will build a cable system linking Oman to Puntland, Somaliland and Ethiopia.

The Gulf to America (G2A) system will offer connectivity from the Middle East to emerging markets in East Africa, and aims to support the growing demand for cloud services and applications. 

It is scheduled for completion in Q4 2016, and will offer 20Tbps of capacity and utilise 100G technology. 

“This is the first step on our expansion journey into Africa where we will go from Oman directly to Somalia and then extend the cable further into Africa to Ethiopia,” said Sohail Qadir, vice president, Omantel Wholesale. “These two highly under-served countries will soon be connected to our international low-latency network, gain access to all the content hosted in Oman with Omantel and consume services from Europe and Southeast Asia.”

The operator has signed a supply agreement with Xtera Communications and will build the submarine cable in partnership with Ethio Telecom, Golis Telecom and Telesom Company. 

The subsea cable will run from Salalah in Oman to Bosaso in Puntland and Berbera in Somaliland, with a terrestrial link onto Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. In Oman, the cable will also interconnect to nine other subsea cable systems 

“Today we are mainly relying on satellite communication for our Internet needs; G2A will dramatically change the end-user experience and enable new types of low-latency services both for the residential and corporate sectors,” stated Abdulaziz Gureye Karshe, chairman of the board, Golis.

The news comes during a period of growth in African subsea cables. The Nigeria-Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS) went live in January and Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) is set to roll out phase two of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable system.