Airtel partners Telecom Egypt for global subsea cable connectivity

07 August 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

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Bharti Airtel has entered into a strategic partnership with Telecom Egypt which will give Airtel indefeasible right of use (IRU) on a number of Telecom Egypt cables.

Specifically Airtel will get IRUs on the Middle East North Africa (MENA) and TE North cable systems, in addition to getting large capacities on the SEA-ME-WE 5 and AAE1 cables.

“The partnership including MENA Cable and TE’s network will be a good addition to our global network portfolio and provide us with a high quality and diversified new route to Western Europe and the rest of the world,” said Ajay Chitkara (pictured), director and CEO of Airtel Business. “With the explosion of data usage in emerging markets, including India and Africa, this asset will provide us a scalable and diverse high capacity highway to serve our customers. In particular, it will provide impetus to India’s emergence as a major regional internet hub serving customers across SAARC region, with seamless global connectivity.”

As a result of the partnership Airtel now has the right to use fibre pairs on the MENA cable from Egypt to India with access to Saudi Arabia and Oman, as well as pairs from Egypt to Italy. On the TE North cable Airtel has the right to use a fibre pair from Egypt to France.

MENA cable system

Airtel says that this new connectivity will enable it to further diversify its global network to meet the growing demand for data services, especially in emerging markets across South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The new routes also benefit from the favourable economics of Telecom Egypt’s wide cable systems network.

“Telecom Egypt signed the agreement with Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) to acquire MENA Cable with the aim of capitalising on the growing traffic from India and Saudi Arabia to Europe and to obtain a new gateway to Europe through Italy. We are pleased to be able to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airtel as well as to be able to bundle MENA’s assets with existing assets of the TE network. We aim to come back to the market with more details on the MoU and its financial impact once the deal is closed,” added Ahmed El Beheiry, chief executive officer of Telecom Egypt.

Both aim to have transactions concluded once all the conditions have been met.