Muscat: Oman Telecommunications (Omantel), the Sultanate’s leading telecommunications provider on Wednesday announced the successful landing of the Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) cable system in the French city of Marseille.
Spanning approximately 25,000km, the AAE-1 submarine cable is one of the first unique cable systems to connect Hong Kong to Singapore, Africa and Europe, all via Oman. The cable will provide an alternative and low latency short route between Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe while covering close to 50 per cent of the world’s population.
Commenting on the achievement, Talal Said Al Mamari, chief executive officer of Omantel said, “The decision to join hands with Marseille to become the landing site for AAE-1 was an easy one as the city is a critical telecommunications connectivity hub, a key trade port and an entry way into Europe.”
“This achievement would not have been possible without the support of the city of Marseille. To land a cable of this magnitude requires permits and regulatory approvals from many areas within the government. Our experience of Marseille is a city that is professional, business-oriented and one that welcomes foreign investment,” added Talal Al Mamari.
The AAE-1 landing was made possible through the creation of Omantel France, an Omantel subsidiary company tasked with ensuring that the AAE-1 cable system is able to deliver seamless connectivity between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia while offering operators an alternative access point in Europe.
Omantel’s carrier neutral landing facilities and new data centres in Marseille gives carriers competitive access to and from Europe via the AAE-1 cable system. Network operators arriving in Europe or seeking to access undersea cable infrastructure are often faced with expensive backhaul and interconnect costs due to monopolistic pricing.
Operators in Europe that need to connect their networks to a landing station usually have no alternative but to pay. The Omantel facility will have an open and neutral model in the Interxion data centres in Marseille which will give operators new and affordable access to undersea cable infrastructure.
Omantel’s extensive international network will provide additional protection and diversity to the AAE-1 cable system through other systems like EPEG, which is a major high-capacity system consisting of redundant undersea cables to Iran and onwards terrestrial cable all the way via Azerbaijan and Russia to Frankfurt avoiding existing heavily congested cable systems and crowded bottlenecks on the route between Asia and Europe.
Commenting on the significance of the AAE-1 cable, Sohail Qadir, VP (Wholesale Unit) at Omantel said, “As the first GCC operator to land a submarine cable in Europe, we are thrilled with the successful execution of this project, especially given the landing of the AAE-1 cable was concluded ahead of schedule. The AAE-1 cable represents a further step in our vision to become a truly global telecommunications player. In the coming years, further extending our reach internationally is a key focus for Omantel, and a central goal of our 3.0 transformation strategy. Throughout history Oman has always been a gateway to the region, facilitating trade and commerce from East to West and West to East. At Omantel, we aim to continue our nation’s proud tradition, this time facilitating the transfer of information, in this new digital age.”
In the international wholesale arena, Omantel is considered one of the most prominent and competitive wholesale telecommunication providers in the Middle East. In addition, it is one of the leading companies in the field of undersea cable networks and a key participant in several submarine cables, complemented by direct terrestrial links, which link Asia, Europe and America passing through Oman to meet the growing international capacity requirements of customers locally and internationally, thereby sustaining the company’s leading position among its competitors.
Omantel’s wholesale strategy is to be a carrier of carriers and to be the link between the East and the West for the region and beyond.