With an aim to further diversify its global network to serve the massive growth in demand for data services, Bharti Airtel has entered into a strategic partnership with Telecom Egypt, Egypt’s first integrated telecom operator. Under the partnership, the country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel will get IRUs (Indefeasible Right of Use) on Middle East North Africa Submarine Cable (MENA Cable) and TE North Cable Systems, the company said in a statement on Monday.
Airtel said that in addition, the company will also take large capacities on a long-term basis on two new state-of-the-art Cable Systems (SMW5 & AAE1). “The transactions aim to be concluded after the fulfillment of all conditions precedents,” the statement said. The partnership grants Airtel the right to use fiber pairs of MENA Cable from Egypt to India with access to Saudi Arabia and Oman, and other fiber pairs from Egypt towards Italy.
“It also extends beyond MENA Cable, where Airtel will get the right to use a fiber pair from Egypt to France on TE North along with capacities on SMW5 and AAE1 cable systems,” it said. Airtel said that with the partnership, the company 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 Middle East, while also benefitting from the favorable economics of Telecom Egypt’s existing wide cable systems network.
“The partnership with Telecom Egypt underlines our commitment to provide world-class service experience to our customers. 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, Director and CEO – 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,” he said.
Airtel’s global network portfolio includes ownership of i2i submarine cable system connecting Chennai to Singapore, consortium ownership of SMW4 submarine cable system connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Singapore and Europe, and new cable system investments like Asia America Gateway (AAG), India Middle East & Western Europe (IMEWE), Unity, EIG (Europe India Gateway) and East Africa Submarine System (EASSy), the statement said. It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighboring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China.