Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) and Middle East and North Africa Company (MENA) of Egypt have recently signed an agreement on the landing of a submarine fiber optics cable on the Omani coasts to enhance international telecommunications traffic between the Sultanate of Oman and the world.
Dr. Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Wohaibi, the Chief Executive Officer of Omantel signed the agreement on behalf of Omantel, while Dr. Nagi Anis, the director of Middle East and North Africa Cable Project, signed the Agreement on behalf of MENA Company. The Chief Executive Officer of Omantel Dr. Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Wohaibi stressed the importance of the agreement as it would introduce huge capacities for submarine cables in the Sultanate. The project would provide great services for international telecommunications traffic, especially the Internet, through fiber optics in case of any cable cutoffs. It would provide alternative lines for international telecom network, as well as upgradable transmission facilities in support of Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice.
Dr. Al-Wohaibi said that Omantel constantly seeks to make the Sultanate an important hub for international telecom traffic through submarine cables network which guarantees uninterrupted telecom traffic between the Sultanate and world countries on one hand and between world countries themselves on the other. This was made possible in view of the strategic location of the Sultanate. Therefore, many companies endeavour to exploit the Sultanate's secure location between the East and the West to facilitate the international telecom traffic.
Omantel CEO indicated that the MENA Cable Project, which is implemented by the Middle East and North Africa Company, an affiliate of Orascom Telecom, is vital for the telecom sector as a whole because the cable passes through many countries besides the Sultanate of Oman, including Mazara in Sicily, Italy, Crete in Greece, Alexandria and Suez in Egypt, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and India. The cable landing point will be executed in Wilayat Al Seeb where Omantel Submarine Cables Center is located. This center is used as the main hub for submarine fiber optic cables landing in the Sultanate. Dr. Al-Wohaibi added that the total cost of MENA Cable project is about 400 million US dollars. The 8000-kilometer long cable, which would provide a total capacity of 5.7 terra bets, will arrive at Wilayat Al Seeb during the third quarter of 2009. Omantel would achieve great benefit from the MENA submarine fiber optic cables once as it will enable the company to provide its subscribers with large capacities besides the fact that it would provide new tracks in case of any mishaps in any submarine cable lines. Dr. Al-Wohaibi indicated that Omantel is always seeking to diversify its income mix through the agreements it concludes with international companies, especially in the area of submarine cables, which have become of great importance to telecom traffic. Submarine cables have also gained great interest of world companies and countries, being the most important element to facilitate the international telecom traffic in the next stage. Omantel CEO noted that the company has recently jointed 15 international telecom companies in signing the Europe-India Gateway project for the building of an international broadband fiber optics submarine cable extending from the United Kingdom to India and passing through the Sultanate of Oman and some other countries. The US$ 700 million EIG project would enhance diversity in the service of these fast growing regions in telecom sector and investment environment.
Dr. Al-Wohaibi added that the submarine cable system is designed to provide a range of communications up to 2.88 terabits (Tbps) using dense-wavelength-division-multiplexing (DWDM) technology to provide upgradeable transmission facilities that support Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice.
It is worth noting that Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) is the sole integrated telecommunications services provider in Oman. The Sultanate of Oman, through its strategic location on the crossroad of the Gulf, Middle East and Indian subcontinent has become a major landing point for global cable connections including, FLAG (Falcon), SMW3 and TWA1. In addition, Omantel has established direct links with its adjacent neighbours in the region. Omantel is currently working on additional cable landings to extend its reach to all the continents. Furthermore, it possesses a resilient network that is capable of providing uninterrupted service to its customers.