The Indian Bharti Airtel (Airtel), a global telecom services provider, and Telecom Egypt (TE) announced a strategic partnership, wherein Airtel will get Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) on Middle East/North Africa Submarine Cable (MENA Cable) and TE North Cable systems. In addition, Airtel will also take large capacities on a long-term basis on two new state-of-the-art cable systems (SMW5 & AAE-1). The transactions aim to be concluded after the fulfilment of all conditions.
The partnership grants Airtel the right to use fibre pairs of MENA Cable from Egypt to India with access to Saudi Arabia and Oman, and other fibre pairs from Egypt towards Italy. It also extends beyond MENA Cable, where Airtel will get the right to use a fibre pair from Egypt to France on TE North, along with capacities on the SMW5 and AAE-1 cable systems.
With this, Airtel will be able to further diversify its global network to serve the massive growth in demand for data services, particularly in emerging markets across South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, while also benefitting from the favourable economics of TE’s existing wide cable systems network.
“The partnership with Telecom Egypt underlines our commitment to provide world-class service experience to our customers,” said Ajay Chitkara, director and CEO of Airtel.
“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. 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 the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region, with seamless global connectivity,” he added.
Ahmed El Beheiry, chief executive officer of TE, said that the company’s global network was built over the years through investments in consortiums as well as private international submarine cable systems.
“Our reach and position as an international hub with tens of Tbps-lit capacity, makes us the partner of choice for Euro-Asian and Euro-African transit traffic. TE signed the agreement with 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 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,” he added.