CAIRO/NEW DELHI -- Global telecom service provider Bharti Airtel (aka Airtel) and Telecom Egypt, Egypt's first integrated telecom operator, forged a strategic partnership, wherein, Airtel will get IRUs (Indefeasible Right of Use) on Middle East North Africa Submarine Cable (MENA Cable) and TE North Cable Systems. In addition, Airtel also will take large capacities on a long-term basis on two new state-of-the-art cable systems (named SMW5 & AAE1).
The transactions aim to be concluded after the fulfillment of all conditions' precedents, according to both parties.
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.
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 favorable economics of Telecom Egypt's existing wide cable systems network.
"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."
Added Ahmed El Beheiry, CEO of Telecom Egypt (TE): "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.”
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 neighboring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China.
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