Bharti Airtel and Telecom Egypt, the first integrated telecom operator in Egypt, today announced a strategic partnership, wherein, Airtel will get IRUs (Indefeasible Right of Use) on the 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 & AAE1). The transactions aim to be concluded after the fulfilment of all conditions precedents. 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 SMW5 and AAE1 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 Telecom Egypt’s existing wide cable systems network.
Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO – Airtel Business said, “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 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 with 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.”
Egypt’s distinctive geographic location on the Red and Mediterranean seas has enabled Telecom Egypt to connect more than 11 cable systems from the East and 13 from the West linked with the Red-Med Corridor consisting of 7 diversified routes across Egypt. Telecom Egypt’s global network was built over the years through investments in international submarine cable systems, namely: TE North, ALETAR, SEA-ME-WE-3, SEA-ME-WE-4, SEA-ME-WE-5, IMEWE, EIG, and AAE-1.
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). It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighbouring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China.