Omantel and Multinet Pakistan announce Silk Route Gateway

10 May 2016 | Natalie Bolger


Oman’s Omantel and Pakistan’s Multinet have signed an agreement to set up a new submarine cable system, Silk Route Gateway 1(SRG-1) that will be the beginning of a smart regional network

The deal, announced on the first day of International Telecoms Week, means the cable will run from Karachi in Pakistan and run via Gwadar in Pakistan, to terminate at Muscat, Oman. SRG-1 will be the first cable to land in Gwadar, a deep seaport expected to play a pivotal role in the region’s economic boost.

“We envision the transformation of historical Silk Route into technology highways,” said Muhammad Rashid Shafi, chief strategy officer, Multinet Pakistan. “SRG-1 will act as the technology catalyst for this regional cooperation, thereby also fuelling the country’s own massively growing capacity demands.”

SRG 1 will be one of the 15 major cables landing in Oman, the region’s focal point connecting the Middle East to the world.

“Oman pioneers unprecedented quality routes to major global destinations,” said Sohail Qadir, vice president of Omantel Wholesale. “SRG-1 is our initiative to bridge Africa and the west with the most happening markets of the Asian subcontinent through the most efficient latency network.”

The companies are describing SRG-1 as the reincarnation of the traditional silk route as a digital road. SRG-1 is designed to carry 20Tbps and will be ready for service in Q4 of 2017. With Omantel and Multinet already part of the consortium, numerous other international carriers are involved in discussions to join in, said the companies. 

Multinet Pakistan, an Axiata group subsidiary, is a leading Pakistan and international data and voice services provider. It has reliable connectivity solutions on a 12,000 km long self-healing and scalable optical fibre network covering over 110 cities of Pakistan.

Oman is already a significant telecommunication hub between the west, Africa, Asia and the Gulf, and SRG-1 will now connect China, Afghanistan and central Asia via Pakistan.