Gulf cable deployment to spur regional growth

The telecoms industry in the Gulf region is in the throes of change with mobile markets becoming more competitive and saturated. As a result the big players are expanding into Africa and Asia Pacific in a bid to continue growth. But there is also a need for more domestic capacity to support expansion at home in both the mobile and fixed markets.

Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are feeling the heat in their home markets, which have become more open and where penetration rates are well over 100 per cent.

There were 57 million mobile subscriptions in the GCC at the end of September 2009, up 26 per cent from 45 million at the end of September 2008.

Last week, network operator Tata Communications signed strategic partnership agreements with several of the region’s major telecoms carriers to establish a new cable that will connect the region directly to the world’s major business hubs and city centres via Tata’s global network.

The partners are Bahrain Internet Exchange, Nawras of Oman, Qatar Telecom, Mobily Saudi Arabia and Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates, which will each be the exclusive landing party for the TGN Gulf Cable System in their respective geography.

The cable and the relationships with the landing parties will be further developed to provide an extended portfolio of value added services for local and global enterprise customers, Tata said. Using their own cable station, each party will have access to a high speed route to the global market, and will benefit from much needed resilience and diversity to the infrastructure in each country. This capacity will enable expansion in broadband penetration, internet usage and enterprise applications, the consortium said.

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