Asia-Europe-Africa Submarine Cable Systems

The FLAG Alcatel-Lucent Optical Network (FALCON) submarine cable system is a 11859km submarine cable system connecting India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Egypt.

The FALCON cable system has an initial design capacity of 2.56 Tbps, was ready for service in September 2006.

The FALCON cable system was originally a private cable owned by FLAG Telecom. FLAG Europe Asia (FEA), FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop (FNAL/RNAL), FALCON and FLAG Atlantic 1 (FA-1)formed FLAG Global Network. In 2003, Reliance Communications, now branded as Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), acquired FLAG Telecom for $207million. 

In Oman, FALCON lands at OmanTel’s Al Seeb landing station near Muscat.

In India, FALCON lands at the Versova Mumbai cable landing station,

Specially, FALCON lands at the Al-Faw Cable Landing Station (CLS) in Iraq, built in alliance with the Iraqi Telecommunications and Post Company (ITPC).

The FALCON cable system integrates with GCX's HAWK cable system in Suez, Egypt, extends connectivity from India to Europe, offers end-to-end connectivity between London, Paris, Frankfurt, Marseille, Cyprus, Egypt, Mumbai, etc.

FALCON cable map
FALCON cable map,   Source: GCX

FLAG Europe Asia (now FEA), originally called Fibre-optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG), is a 28,000km submarine cable connecting 18 countries and regions in Asia, Africa and Europe. FLAG EA (FEA) was opened for commercial service on 22 November 1997.

FLAG Europe Asia (FEA) was originally a private cable owned by FLAG Telecom. FLAG Europe Asia, FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop (FNAL/RNAL), FALCON and FLAG Atlantic 1 (FA-1)formed FLAG Global Network. In 2003, Reliance Communications, now branded as Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), acquired FLAG Telecom for $207million. 

FLAG Europe Asia (FEA) lands at the following cable landing stations:

  • Porthcurno / Skewjack, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
  • Estepona, Málaga, Andalusia, Spain
  • Palermo, Province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy
  • Alexandria, Al Iskandariyah Governorate, Egypt
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Suez, As Suways Governorate, Egypt
  • Aqaba, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan
  • Jeddah, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia
  • Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
  • Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Penang, Malaysia, meeting SAFE and SEA-ME-WE 3
  • Satun, Satun Province, Thailand
  • Songkhla, Songkhla province, Thailand
  • Silvermine Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
  • Nanhui, Shanghai, China
  • Keoje, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
  • Ninomiya, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
  • Miura, Kanagawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

FLAG Europe Asia (FEA) Cable Map

The South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4, SMW4) is an approximately 18,800 km submarine cable connecting Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, Tunisia, Algeria and France.

The SMW4 cable system consists of two fiber pairs, with intial design capacity of 1.28Tbps, upgraded to 4.6Tbps in 2015.

The SMW4 cable system was ready for service on December 13, 2005.

The SMW4 project costs about US$500 million, supplier by ASN and Fujitsu jointly.

The SMW4 Consortium comprises 16 telecom operators:

  • Algérie Télécom, Algeria
  • Bharti Infotel Limited, India
  • Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), Bangladesh
  • CAT Telecom Public Company Limited, Thailand
  • Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (ETISALAT), UAE
  • France Telecom, France
  • MCI, United States
  • Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, Pakistan
  • Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), Singapore
  • Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT), Sri Lanka
  • Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Saudi Arabia
  • Telecom Egypt (TE), Egypt
  • Telecom Italia Sparkle S.p.A., Italy
  • Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), Malaysia
  • Tunisie Telecom, Tunisia
  • Tata Communications, India

The SMW4 cable system has 4 segments:

  • S1 - Tuas to Mumbai
  • S2 - Mumbai to Suez
  • S3 - Suez to Alexandria
  • S4 - Alexandria to Marseille

Tthe SMW4 cable system lands at the following 17 cable landing stations:

  1. Marseille, France
  2. Annaba, Algeria
  3. Bizerte, Tunisia
  4. Palermo, Italy
  5. Alexandria, Egypt
  6. Cairo, Egypt (overland)
  7. Suez, Egypt (overland
  8. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  9. Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
  10. Karachi, Pakistan
  11. Mumbai, India
  12. Colombo, Sri Lanka
  13. Chennai, India
  14. Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
  15. Satun, Thailand
  16. Melaka, Malaysia
  17. Tuas, Singapore

 

 SMW4 cable map

SEACOM is a 17,000 km (11,000 mi) submarine cable connecting South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Djibouti, France and India. The SEACOM cable system was ready for service on 23 July 2009, supplied by SubCom. 

SEACOM Cable System was upgraded to 1.5Tbps capacity in 2018.

Cable Landing Stations:

  • Mtunzini, South Africa, in a partnership with Neotel as landing party in South Africa and extending to Neotel data centre in Midrand, Johannesburg
  • Mombasa, Kenya
  • Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Maputo, Mozambique
  • YAC A CLS, Djibouti
  • Zafaranan, Egypt
  • Abu Talat, Egypt
  • Marseille, France
  • Mumbai, India

The SEACOM cable system is variously described as a $600 million investment. The initial private investment in the SEACOM project was US$375 million: $75 million from the developers, $150 million from private South African investors, and $75 million as a commercial loan from Nedbank (South Africa). The remaining $75 million was provided by Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), which is the industrial and infrastructure arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. The IPS investment was funded by $15 million in equity, and a total of $60.4 million in debt from the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund and the FMO.

Current ownership structure of SEACOM is as follows: 30% IPS, 30% Remgro, 15% Sanlam, 15% Convergence Partners, and 10% Brian Herlihy.

SEACOM and TGN-EA are a common cable in some segments. SEACOM represents the East African portion of the system as well as two fiber pairs between Egypt and India. Tata Communications TGN-EA  has two fiber pairs from Egypt to India and the branch to Jeddah. Both SEACOM and Tata Communications TGN EA have one fiber pair on TE North for connectivity across Egypt to Europe.

 

SEACOM cable system
SEACOM Network

South-East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 3 (Sea-Me-We3 or SMW3) is a submarine cable linking 39 cable landing stations in 33 countries and 4 continents, including Asia, Astralia, Africa and Europe. Sea-Me-We 3 (SMW3) is the longest submarine cable system in the world with a total length of 39,000 km.

Sea-Me-We 3 (SMW3) cable system was supplied by ASN and Fujitsu and officially put into service on September 30, 1999.

The SMW3 Consortium comprises 92 telecom operators.

Sea-Me-We 3 (SMW3) cable system consists of two fiber pairs in its trunk, designed with 8*STM-16 DWDM technology which was the then state-of-the-air technology when it was designed in 1996.

In 2006, 2nd 10G Upgrade was completed which increased Sea-Me-We-3 system capacity significantly.

In May 2007, Sea-Me-We-3 completed the 3rd 10G Upgrade with 48 wavelengths per fiber pair.

In December 2009, the 4th 10G Upgrade increased WDM channels from 48 to 64 per fibre pair.

In 2015, the 5th Upgrade realized capacity expansion with 100G DWDM technologies.

Sea-Me-We3 (SMW3) lands at the following 39 cable landing stations in 33 countries:

  1. Norden, Germany
  2. Oostende, Belgium
  3. Goonhilly, United Kingdom
  4. Penmarch, France
  5. Sesimbra, Portugal
  6. Tetuan, Morocco
  7. Mazara del Vallo, Italy
  8. Chania, Greece
  9. Marmaris, Turkey
  10. Yeroskipou, Cyprus
  11. Alexandria, Egypt
  12. Suez, Egypt
  13. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  14. Djibouti, Djibouti
  15. Muscat, Oman
  16. Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
  17. Karachi, Pakistan
  18. Mumbai, India
  19. Kochi, India
  20. Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka
  21. Pyapon, Myanmar
  22. Satun, Thailand
  23. Penang, Malaysia
  24. Medan, Indonesia
  25. Tuas, Singapore
  26. Jakarta, Indonesia
  27. Perth, Australia
  28. Mersing, Malaysia
  29. Tungku, Brunei
  30. Da Nang, Vietnam
  31. Batangas, Philippines
  32. Taipa, Macau
  33. Deep Water Bay, Hong Kong, China
  34. Shantou, China
  35. Fangshan, Taiwan
  36. Toucheng, Taiwan
  37. Shanghai, China
  38. Geoje, South Korea
  39. Okinawa, Japan


For the capacity pricing, Sea-Me-We 3 introduced an innovative Price Incentive Scheme based on the MIU*km concept. For each MIU (i.e. a 2 Mbit/s circuit) between two landing points, the price is equal to the geographical distance between these two points (subject to a minimum of 550 km and to a maximum of 10,000 km) multiplied by the unit cost for a MIU*km. For IRU purchase, the price will be at a Fixed Price of USD50 per miu*km for circuit within any segment in Sea-Me-We 3.

 

SMW3 cable route

 

Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy) is a 10,000km submarine cable system along the east coast of Africa, with 9 landing stations in Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa, provides a backhaul system for at least 12 landlocked countries, enabling wide coverage in the East African region. 

The EASSy cable system was ready for service in July 2010.

The EASSy cable system comprises two fiber pairs, initially designed with 68*10Gbps DWDM technology. The design capacity was upgraded to 4.72 Tbps in 2011 with ASN's 40Gbps wavelength technology.

The EASSy project costs an initial investment at approximately US$ 235 million. 

The EASSy Consortium consists of 18 members, including Bharti Airtel, Botswana Fibre Networks, BT, Comores Telecom, Djibouti Telecom, Etisalat, Mauritius Telecom, MTN Group, Neotel, Orange, Saudi Telecom, Sudan Telecom Company, Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, Telkom Kenya, Telkom South Africa, Telma (Telecom Malagasy), Vodacom DRC, WIOCC, Zambia Telecom. 

According to Many Possibilities, EASSy is 90% African-owned although that ownership is underwritten by a substantial investment by Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) including World Bank/IFC, EIB, AfDB, AFD, and KfW. Total DFI investment is apparently $70.7 million, with $18.2 million coming from IFC, 14.5 million from AfDB. This is a smaller amount than the originally advertised $120 million investment from DFIs.

South African investors in EASSY include Telkom/Vodacom ($18.9 million) , MTN ($40.3 million),  and Neotel (~$11 million). MTN is  the largest operator investor in the EASSy project. Telkom is the landing party and owner of the Mtunzini cable landing station in South Africa. 

WIOCC is the largest shareholder in the EASSy Consortium and owns 29% of the EASSy cable system.

AfDB funding was a vital element in the setting up of the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), which was established as a “Special Purpose Vehicle” (SPV) and largest shareholder in the EASSy submarine cable system.

WIOCC consortium members include: Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Dalkom Somalia, Djibouti Telecom, Gilat Satcom Nigeria Ltd., the Government of Seychelles, the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority, ONATEL Burundi, Telkom Kenya Ltd., Telecommunicacões de Mocambique (TDM), U-COM Burundi, Uganda Telecom Ltd., Zantel Tanzania and most recently, TelOne Zimbabwe and Libyan Post, Telecom and Information Technology Company (LPTIC).

 

 

EASSy Cable Route

 

EASSy Cable System Connectivity
EASSy Cable System Connectivity

 

The South Africa Far East (SAFE) cable is a 13,500 km optical fiber submarine cable linking South Africa, Mauritius, La Réunion, India and Malaysia, ready for service in April 2002.

The SAFE Consortium includes Angola Telecom, AT&T, BT, Camtel, China Telecom, Chunghwa Telecom, Cote d’Ivoire Telecom, Ghana Telecommunications Company, KPN, KT, Maroc Telecom, Mauritius Telecom, NATCOM (Nigeria), Neotel, OPT, Orange, PCCW, Proximus, SingTel, Sonatel, Sprint, Tata Communications, Telecom Italia Sparkle, Telecom Namibia, Telekom Malaysia, Telkom South Africa, Telstra, Telxius, Verizon, Vodafone, inclusive of members in SAT3/WACS. 

The SAFE cable system was supplied by Tyco Submarine Systems (now SubmCom).

The SAFE cable lands at the following cable landing stations:

  • Mtunzini, South Africa
  • Melkbosstrand, South Africa
  • St. Paul, La Reunion
  • Baie Jacotet, Mauritius
  • Cochin, India
  • Penang, Malaysia

The SAFE cable system consists of two fiber pairs, with an initial design capacity of 10Gbps, and upgraded to 130Gbps.

SAFE and SAT-3 / WASC are commonly considered as one cable system SAT-3/WASC/SAFE, forming a 28000km submarine cable linking Europe, Africa and Asia.

At the Melkbosstrand cable landing station in South Africa, the SAT-3 / WASC and the SAFE are interconnected.

The SAT-3 / WASC cable spans approxiamately 14,500 km connecting South Africa, West Africa and Europe, northwards to Sesimbra in Portugal, with a total capacity of 120 Gbps.

 

SAFE Cable Route

 

RJK (Russia-Japan-Korea) is a submarine cable system linking Russia, Japan and Korea. The RJK cable consists of two fiber pairs, stretches of 1762 Km, with three cable landing station:

The RJK cable system was designed with 560 Mbps PDH system over each fiber pair. The RJK cable system began operation in January 1995.

The RJCN (or Russia-Japan Cable Network) is a 1800-km submarine cable system with diverse cable routes connecting Japan and Russia, with a design capacity of 640 Gbps. The RJCN was ready for service on September 5 2008. By interconnecting with the Transit Europe Asia (TEA) terrestrial cable, the RJCN and the TEA can offer the shortest latency (approximately 196 ms) between Tokyo and London. And 10 Gbps transparent wavelength is available on the RJCN and TEA route.

The Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System (HSCS) is a 500km undersea cable system between Ishikari, Hokkaido in Japan and Nevelsk, Sakhalin in Russia, jointly built by TTK and NTT, ready for service on July 3, 2008

The HSCS has a inital design capacity of 640 Gbps.

In 2018, the HSCS was upgraded with 200 Gbps DWDM technology for a total system capacity up to 5.4 Tbps, and activated the first 100 Gbps channel between Tokyo and Amsterdam. 

With the seamless combination of the HSCS and TTK's terrestrial backbone across Russia to Europe, it forms a low latency route, Europe-Russia-Japan (ERJ), with latency (RTD) of 144ms between Tokyo and Amsterdan.

The Europe India Gateway (EIG) is a 15,000km international fiber optic submarine cable system that links 12 countries across 3 continents, including

  • the United Kingdom,
  • Portugal,
  • Gibraltar,
  • Monaco,
  • France,
  • Libya,
  • Egypt,
  • Saudi Arabia,
  • Djibouti,
  • Oman,
  • United Arab Emirates, and
  • India.

The EIG consortium consists of 16 telecommunications carriers, including AT&T, Bharti Airtel, BSNL, BT, Djibouti Telecom, du, Gibtelecom, Libya International Telecommunications Company, MTN, Omantel, Portugal Telecom, Saudi Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telkom South Africa, Verizon and Vodafone.

The EIG cable system was originally supplied by TE SubCom and ASN, TE SubCom supplying segments from Egypt South (Suez), Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, UAE and India (Mumbai), ASN supplying segments from Egypt North (Alexander) to the UK (London)

The EIG cable system has three fiber pairs in most of its submarine segments and is deployed with 2+2 fiber pairs crossing Egypt. For more details, please refer to Europe India Gateway (EIG) Cable System Connectivity.

The EIG cable system was ready for service in February 2011, with an initial designed system capacity of 3.84Tbps, based on 10Gbps DWDM technology. There were upgrades on EIG in 2015 and 2020 respectively, deploying 100Gbps DWDM technology supplied by Ciena.

EIG Cable Route

The IMEWE ( India-Middle East-Western Europe) submarine cable is a 13000km submarine cable system which links India & Europe via Middle.

The IMEWE cable system consists of three fiber pairs, with two fiber pairs on an express path, plus a terrestrial link connecting the cities of Alexandria and Suez in Egypt. The initial design capacity of IMEWE cable system is 3.84Tbps, as a 10Gbps DWDM system. 

The IMEWE cable system includes 10 cable landing stations in eight countries: India, Pakistan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Italy and France.

The IMEWE consortium comprises of nine major telecom companies: Bharti Airtel (India), Etisalat (UAE), France Telecom-Orange (France), OGERO (Lebanon), Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (Pakistan), Saudi Telecom Company STC (Saudi Arabia), Telecom Egypt (Egypt), Telecom Italia Sparkle (Italy), and Tata Communications (India). 

The IMEWE cable system was ready for service on 11th Dec, 2010

In 2012, the IMEWE cable system was upgraded with 40Gbps DWDM supplied by Mitsubishi Electric.

In 2016, the IMEWE cable system completed an upgrade with 100 Gbps DWDM supplied by Mitsubishi Electric, increasing its system capacity to 5.6Tbps.

In Oct., 2019, Ciena completed the upgrade of IMEWE cable system, using Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai technology to deploy 200Gbps per wave on the majority of the IMEWE digital line section.

 

IMEWE Cable Route

TGN-Eurasia, or TGN-EA, is a 9,280 km cable system linking Mumbai in India with Marseille in France, passing through Egypt, with a branching unit to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  TGN-EA offers route diversity through a terrestrial route in Egypt without touching the Alexandria CLS & the Suez CLS.

TGN-EA cable system consists of two fiber, with an initial design capacity upto 1.28 Tbps, and one fiber pair express route between Mumbai and Marseille.

In Egypt, TGN-EA terrestrial paths run between the Abu Talat CLS and the Zafarana CLS. Tata Communications partners with Telecom Egypt for TGN-EA landing at the Abu Talat CLS and the Zafarana CLS and terrestrial paths between the cable landing stations, dropping TGN-EA capacity in Egypt for connectivity into Egypt and also extending the reach to countries like Libya, Cyprus, Sudan, Jordan, Syria etc through Telecom Egypt.

Tata Communications also partners with Mobily for TGN-EA branching into Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, extending the TGN-EA cable systems into the Middle East and North Africa,

TGN-EA forms a part of Tata Global Network's (TGN) together with other cable systems like TIC, TGN Intra-Asia, TGN Pacific, TGN Atlantic and European ring, enables PoP to PoP connectivity allowing customers to terminate capacity at Mumbai or at Marseille and also at other TGN PoPs 

TGN-EA cable system offers low latency routes, with  round-trip-delay (RTD) of 92 ms between Mumbai and Marseille,  52 ms between Mumbai and Jeddah, 52 ms between Marseille and Jeddah.

TGN-EA cable system is a private cable owned by Tata Communications and supplied by SubCom. TGN-EA cable system was ready for service in April 2012.

TGN-EA cable route

The Middle East North Africa (MENA) Submarine Cable System (MENA-SCS) is a 8800km submarine communications cable system connects Italy, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and India. The MENA-SCS is now a private cable owned by Telecom Egypt.

The MENA submarine cable rans across Egypt via terrestrial parth between the Abu Talat CLS and the Zafarana CLS, avoiding the Alexandria CLS & the Suez CLS.

The MENA submarine cable system consists of six fibre pairs, initially designed with 96*10Gbps DWDM technology and a total system capacity of 5.76Tbps, upgradable to 100Gbps technology

The MENA submarine cable system was ready for service in Novmember 2014.

The MENA submarine cable system was a private cable owned by MENA-SCS, a 100% subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology in Egypt. In 2014, MENA-SCS signed IRU agreement with Telecom Egypt to acquire terrestrial fiber pairs crossing Egypt, between Zaarafana on the Red Sea and Abu Talat on the Mediterranean for 20 years.

In September 2018, Telecom Egypt (TE) acquired MENA SCS from Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) for $90 million, through its 50% owned subsidiary Egyptian International Submarine Cable Company (EISCC) at a total value of US$90 million, including USD40mn for the equity value of MENA Cable System and USD50mn for its outstanding debt. Meanwhile, Telecom Egypt also acquired 50% of EISCC for US$15 million. 

After the acquisition, the MENA submarine cable system became the second private cable of Telecom Egypt, in addition to TE North.

Telecom Egypt signed with India's Airtel Company a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in the maritime cable domain.

Prior to acquisition by Telecom Egypt, Indian operator Bharti Airtel enterd into an exclusive agreement with Orascom to acquire MENA-SCS in 2016. The deal was replaced by an IRU agreement between Bharti Airtel and Telecom Egypt.

In August 2018, Airtel and Telecom Egypt announced strategic partnership for global submarine cable systems. Later in October 2018, Telecom Egypt signed an agreement with Bharti Airtel that granted the latter IRUs (Indefeasible Right of Use) on the MENA Cable System and TE North Cable Systems. Additionally, Airtel purchased from Telecom Egypt large capacities on a long-term basis on SMW5 & AAE1. The deal between Telecom Egypt and Bharti Airtel amounts about US$ 90 million for IRU and additional 4% of annual O&M charge over the lifetime of the cable systems (min. of 15 years), which enabled Telecom Egypt to recover almost all cash flows spent on the MENA Cable acquisition. 

 

MENA Cable Map

 

The GBI (Gulf Bridge International) is a private submarine cable system connecting the Gulf countries together and provide onward connectivity to the rest of the world.

The GBI Cable System is designed with a self-healing core ring in the Gulf, with double cable landings at the major terminals of Qatar and Fujairah (UAE) and branched landings in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Oman, and onward connectivity to landing in India and Europe as well.

The GBI Cable System is the first submarine cable landing in Iraq, with a cable landing station in Al Faw.

The GBI Cable System is privately owned by Gulf Bridge International, established in December 2008 with an initial investment of $445 million.

The GBI Cable System was launched in Feb. 2012 with intra-regional connetivity in Gulf, and late 2014 for the whole system.

The GBI network was planned based on a partnership with the MENA submarine cable system which would provide onward connectivity from the Persian Gulf to India and Western Europe across Egypt.

Unfortunately, the MENA submarine cable system was delayed due to permitting issues in Egypt, was not completed until November 2014 after purchas purchasing terrestrial fiber pairs IRU from Telecom Egypt to connect Zaarafana cable landing station and the Abu Talat cable landing station.

GBI Cable Map

Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE-1) is a 25,000km submarine cable from South East Asia to Europe across Egypt, connecting Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia,Singapore, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France.

The AAE-1 consortium signed the construction and maintenance agreement in Hong Kong on January 27, 2014, and launched the AAE-1 cable system for commerical service in June 2017.

The AAE-1 cable system is designed with 100Gbps technology, with a designed trunk capacity of more than 40 Tbps on 5 fiber pairs.

With diversified carrier neutral terminations at Telecom House in Hong Kong, Equinix SG3 and Global Switch in Singapore, and InterXion MRS1 in Marseille, France, AAE-1 is the unique robust, highcapacity low-latency bandwidth solution along the Eurasia corridor. 

AAE-1 Cable System Design

The SEA-ME-WE 5 (SMW5) is a 20,000km submarine cable system connecting 17 countries through Points-of-Presence (POPs) from Singapore to the Middle East to France and Italy in Western Europe, with an initial system design capacity of 24 Tbps over 3 fiber pairs.

The SMW5 cable system has three fiber pairs between Singapore and Egypt, and four fiber pairs crossing Egypt to Europe.

The SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium consists of 19 leading telecom operators, including BSCCL, China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, China Unicom, Djibouti Telecom, Du, Myanmar Post and Telecom, Orange, Ooredoo, Telin, Saudi Telecom, SingTel, Sri Lanka Telecom, Telecom Italia Sparkle, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia, Telecom Yemen, Turk Telecom and Transworld. The SMW5 consortium signed the construction and maintenace agreement on March 7, 2014.

Alcatel-Lucent and NEC were awarded the SMW5 supply contracts, Alcatel-Lucent supplied the segments from Sri Lanka to France, while NEC supplied the Singapore to Sri Lanka segment.

The SMW5 cable system was ready for service on December 13, 2016.

In August 2019, the SMW5 cable system completed an ungrade with Ciena's coherent 200G DWDM technology, increasing SMW5 system design capacity to 38Tbps.

SMW5 cable map

The Gulf to Africa (G2A) submarine cable system connects Salalah (Oman) to Bosaso (Puntland, Somalia) and Berbera (Somaliland, Somalia). 

The G2A Consortium comprises Omantel (Oman), Telesom (Somaliland, Somalia), Golis (Puntland, Somalia) and Ethio Telecom (Ethiopia). The G2A cable system is supplied by Xtera.

The G2A cable system comprises two fiber pairs, over a 1,500km subsea segment and a 1,500km terrestrial segment, with a system capacity of 20Tbps using 100G technology.

G2A Cable Route

Arctic Fibre is a three-phase submarine cable project, planned to connect Asia, Canada and Europe through the Arctic Ocean.

Phase 1 – Alaska is a 1200 mile submarine fiber optic cable main trunk line between Nome and Prudhoe Bay.

Phase 2 – Asia, is planned to extend the backbone cable from the Nome branching unit west to Asia, with options for additional branches into Alaska. Phase 2 will create an option for a diverse path out of the United States to Asia.

Phase 3 – Canada-United Kingdom, is intended to extend the subsea system east of the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska branching unit along the Lower Northwest Passage to Canada and on to the United Kingdom. Phase 3 will connect to Northern Canadian communities and will provide a secure low latency route from Europe to Asia, and a diverse route option out of North America to Europe.

The Phase 1 – Alaska has been launched for service since early December 2017.

Quintillion Subsea Holdings LLC (“Quintillion”) acquired the assets of Arctic Fibre  in May 2016.

Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) is 12,000 km long, privately owned cable system that provides an open, flexible and carrier-neutral services for its customers. 

The PEACE cable system is designed with the latest 200G transmission technology and WSS ROAMD BU technology, which provides the capability to transmit over 16Tbps per fiber pair servicing growing regional capacity needs.

This PEACE cable system will substantially reduce network latency by adopting shortest direct route connectivity, providing cost-effective capacity in an economically growing region and enhancing route diversity between Asia, Africa and Europe.

PEACE is privately owned and invested by PEACE CABLE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK CO., LIMITED, a subsidiary of China-based HENGTONG Group and supplied by Huawei Marine. PEACE is targeted for completion in Q1, 2020.

PEACE Cable route

The IOX Cable System spans about 8,850 km,connects Mauritius and Rodrigues to the East Coast of South Africa on one side and the East Coast of India on the other. The IOX Cable System consists of 4 fiber pairs in its trunk, with design capacity of 13.5 Tbps per fiber pair and 54 Tbps for the whole system. The IOX Cable system will reinforce Mauritius as a hub in sub-Saharan Africa.

The IOX Cable System will be the first open cable system in the region and is targeted to be completed in 2019.

The Mauritius and Rodrigues Submarine Cable System (MARS) is a 700km undersea cable connecting the Indian Ocean Islands of Rodrigues and Mauritiuswith, with a bandwidth design capacity of 16Tbit/s. The MARS cable system is built by PCCW Global, Mauritius Telecom and Huawei Marine.

The MARS cable system is expected to ready for service in 2019.

The Africa-1 submarine cable system spans 20,000km, linking South Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and Europe.

The Africa-1 cable will land at Sidi-Krir and Zaafarana in Egypt, Port Sudan in Sudan, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Djibouti City in Djibouti, Mogadishu in Somalia, Mombasa in Kenya, Mayotte, Mahajanga in Madagascar, Fujairah in the UAE, and Karachi in Pakistan, with carrier-neutral points of presence (PoPs) in Marseille (France), Mombasa (Kenya) and Durban (South Africa).

The Africa-1 consortium comprises 13 members: 4 global telco carriers - Airtel, PCCW Global, BICS and China Telecom, 5 African telco carriers - MTN Group (South Africa), Mauritius Telecom (Mauritius), Telecom Egypt (Egypt), Sudatel (Sudan), Zain Sudan and Telma (Telecom Malagasy from Madagascar), 3 telco carriers from Middle East - Etisalat (UAE), STC (Saudi) and PTCL (Pakistan) and 1 non-telecom member Al Asab Trading Company. 

The Africa-1 consortium signed the Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA) on 11 December 2018 in Dubai.

 

The Djibouti Africa Regional Express 1(DARE1) submarine cable system connects Djibouti (Djibouti), Bosaso (Somalia), Mogadishu (Somalia) and Mombasa (Kenya). With a finalized route length of 4,854km, DARE1 cable system delivers up to 36 Tbps of capacity to East Africa.

The DARE1 cable system is designed with a three-fibre-pair trunk, with each fibre pair delivering capacity of 40 channels at 300 Gbps.  The Bosaso branch of the DARE1 cable is of 108 km and two fiber pairs.

The DARE1 consortium is currently composed of Djibouti Telecom, Somtel and Telkom Kenya.

The initial investment cost of the DARE1 cable system is about US$86million.

The DARE1 cable system is supplied by SubCom. The DARE1 project is progressing on schedule and the system is on track to be ready for commercial traffic in June 2020.

DARE1 Cable Map
DARE1 Cable Map,                  Source: SubCom

The India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) will connect Mumbai to Europe and interconnect to the east coast of the US.

The IEX cable is built by Reliance Jio Infocomm and is expected to be operational in early 2023.

The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) is a 5,500Km subsea cable connecting Mombasa in Kenya to Fujairah in the UAE, with an initial design capacity of 1.2Tbps. TEAM cable system was ready for service in 2009.

TEAMS cable system is 85% owned by TEAMs (Kenya) Ltd and 15% owned by Etisalaat of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  

The shareholders of TEAMS (Kenya) Ltd includes:

  • 32.5% – Safaricom Ltd
  • 23% – Orange Kenya Ltd
  • 20% – Government of Kenya
  • 10% – Liquid Telecom Kenya Ltd
  • 6% – Wananchi Group
  • 5% – Jamii Telecom Ltd
  • 1.5% – Access Kenya Group

The LION2 (Lower Indian Ocean NetWork II) is a 2700km submarine cable network connecting LION1 to Mayotte and Mombasa, Kenya. The Lion2 is an extension of the LION1.

The LION2 consortium includes France Telecom-Orange and its subsidiaries Mauritius Telecom, Orange Madagascar and Telkom Kenya, and other service providers Emtel, Societe Reunionnaise du Radiotelephone and STOI Internet.

The LION2 cable system costs about $76 million with $42 million coming directly from France Telecom.

The LION2 cable system was ready for service in April 2012, with a design capacity of 1.28Tbps.

The LION2 submarine cable is connected through a new landing station at Nyali, Mombasa, built and operated by Telkom Kenya.

 

LION1 is a 1000km submarine cable connecting Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius, with 1.28Tbps design capacity. LION 1 was ready for service in March, 2010.

The LION 1 consortium comprises Orange Madagascar, Mauritius Telecom and France Telecom S.A.. Overall, the LION project cost an estimated US$37 million. 

TE North (Telecom Egypt North) is a 3600km submarine cable linking Egypt and France, with a branching unit to Cyprus, ready for service in 2010, supplied by ASN.

The TE North Cable System consists of 8 fiber pairs, with initial design capacity of 10Tbps, or 1.28Tbps per fiber pair, upgraded to 20Tbps with 64x40Gbps DWDM technology in 2011.

The TE North Cable System lands at:

  1. Marseille, France
  2. Abu Talat, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
  3. Pentaskhinos, Cyprus

The total cost of the TE North is about US$155 million, including US$125 million for the segment from Egypt to France and US$30 million for the extension to Cyprus.

TE North is the first submarine cable to land at the Abu Talat Cable Landing Station, in the west of Alexandria CLS which previously served as Egypt’s international communications gateway.

SEACOM, Tata Communications' TGN-EA and CYTA's ALEXANDROS cable systems are customers of Telecom Egypt and share fiber pairs with TE North.

TE North shares fiber pairs to SEACOM and TGN-EA from Abu Talat CLS to Marseille CLS. Both SEACOM and TGN-EA  have one fiber pair on TE North for connectivity from Egypt to Europe.

TE North shares fiber pairs with ALEXANDROS submarine cable system, one fiber pair from Pentaskhinos CLS to Abu Talat CLS, and one fiber pair from Pentaskhinos CLS to Marseille CLS. The ALEXANDROS submarine cable system is a private cable owned by Cyta of Cyprus.

For more infomration about submarine cables crossing Egypt and the cost of Egypt-crossing, please visit A Study on Submarine Cables Crossing Egypt and their Costs.

HAWK is a 3400km submarine cable system connecting Egpyt to France, with a branching unit to Cyprus, ready for service in 2011, privately owned by Global Cloud Xchange (GCX)

The HAWK Cable System is designed with 20Tbps system capacity and two fiber pairs, one express fiber pair connecting Marseille CLS in France and Alexandria CLS in Egypt and another fiber pair with a branch to Yeroskipos CLS in Cyprus. Cyprus' private operator PrimeTel owns and operates the Yeroskipos CLS.

PrimeTel, established in Cyprus in 2003, operates the only private island-wide fiber optic network alternative to Cyta (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority), a corporate body wholly owned by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. PrimeTel owns and operates an independent, privately owned submarine cable landing station in Yeroskipos, for the landing of HAWK cable. 

The HAWK cable system that was built by Reliance Globalcom (now Global Cloud Xchange, GCX) to initially set up the world’s first Mediterranean Gateway and Hub at Cyprus. Hawk was initially launched on the Marseille-Cyprus segment to provide adequate bandwidth for local service providers who were concentrating on meeting high speed connectivity needs of emerging broadband internet users in Cyprus. 

The HAWK cable system integrates with GCX's FALCON cable system in Suez, Egypt, extends connectivity from India to Europe, offers end-to-end connectivity between London, Paris, Frankfurt, Marseille, Cyprus, Egypt, Mumbai, etc.

 

HAWK Cable Route
HAWK Cable Route, Source: GCX

Aletar is a 787 km submarine cable system connecting Tartous in Syria to Alexandria in Egypt. 

The Aletar cable system consists of two fibre pairs with eight optical amplifiers, with a design capacity of 5 Gbps, ready for service on April 7, 1997.

The Aletar consortium comprises Egyptian  Telecom. Management(Telecom Egypt, 46.875%), Syrian Telecom. Est.(46.875%),Lebanese Ministry of Telecom (6.25%).L.ebanese Ministry Of Telecom.

 

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LEV is a 2600km submarince cable system in the Mediterranean Sea linking Italy, Cyprus and Israel.

The LEV cable system has a design transmission capacity of 20 Gbps, ready for service in March 1999.

The LEV cable consists of 2 fiber pairs. Each fiber pair has the initial design capacity of 8 wavelengths of 2.5G. The LEV cable system forms a ring pretection among the cable landing station, each 2 landing points have exactly one fiber pair connecting them, forming one fiber ring with total capacity of 20Gbps.

The LEV cable system lands at the following stations:

  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Yeroskipou, Cyprus
  • Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, Italy
  • Catania, Sicily, Italy (terrestrial extension from Mazara del Vallo to Catania)

LEV cable route

 

The Melting Pot Indianoceanic Submarine System (METISS) is a fibre optic cable system connecting Mauritius to South Africa, consists of 3,200 km trunk from Mauritius to South Africa and branching units to Reunion Island and Madagascar, with design capacity of 24Tbps.

The METISS consortium comprises Canal+ Télécom, CEB Fibernet, Emtel, Zeop, SRR (SFR) Telma. The METISS consortium has contracted Liquid Telecom to act as the Landing Party in South Africa, responsible for the installation of the terrestrial component of the METISS cable system and the operational aspects of the system in South Africa.

In South Africa, the METISS cable lands to a beach manhole at Pipeline Beach in Amanzimtoni, in the south of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The Amanzimtoni cable landing staion is an existing faclilites owned by Liquid Telecom South Africa which hosts and manages the METISS submarine cable and provides backhaul to carrier neutral Teraco data center.

 

METISS Cable Route

 

The Blue-Raman cable system is new cable connecting India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Italy, creating a new submarine cable route through the EMEA region, bypassing Egypt.

It is reported that the Blue-Raman cable system is initiated by Google, in a partnership with Telecom Italia Sparkle and Omantel, and the Blue Raman cable system consists of two portions:

  • The Raman portion of the cable will start in Mumbai, India,  with subsea segment connecting India and Oman and connecting to a terrestrial cable to from Oman to Aqaba Port, Jordan. Google is partnering with Omantel on the Raman portion.
  • The Blue portion of the cable will begin in Genoa, Italy, rans undersea of the Mediterranean, across Israel to reach Aqaba.

The Blue Raman cable system is estimated to cost US$400 million, and to be ready for service in 2022.

ALEXANDROS submarine cable system is a private cable wholly owned by Cyta (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority), a corporate body wholly owned by the Republic of Cyprus. 

The ALEXANDROS submarine cable system consists of a fibre pair between Cyprus-Egypt and a fibre pair between Cyprus-France, implemented through Telecom Egypt’s submarine cable system TE North, connecting Egypt with France, initially designed with 96x10Gbps DWDM technology, ready for service in 2010.

The ALEXANDROS cable spans about 3600km, and lands at:

  • Pentaskhinos landing station in Cyprus,
  • Abu Talat cable landing station in Egypt, and
  • Marseilles in France

The ALEXANDROS subsystem is the result of the strategic co-operation agreement between Cyta and Telecom Egypt (TE), according to which Cyta participates on an ownership basis in the ΤΕ submarine cable system TE North, connecting Egypt with France. The TE North cable system has been constructed by Alcatel-Lucent and utilises eight fibre pairs with total capacity of more than 10Tbps. The TE North cable system is equipped with branching units which enable it to be extended to selected countries in the Mediterranean, thus creating a communication bridge between these countries, Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as business opportunities in the Mediterranean and Eurasia. Under the agreement, the TE North cable system has been extended to Cyprus via a direct branch and Cyta has acquired separate fibre pairs between Cyprus-Egypt and Cyprus-France, each with 96x10Gbps total capacity. The agreement also allows for an option of extending ALEXANDROS subsystem to Greece.

ALEXANDROS submarine cable system

The Europe-Persia Express Gateway (EPEG) is a 10,000km fibre optic cable system providing Eurasia connectivity between Europe and the Middle East, bypassing Egypt. The EPEG cable offers route diversity from Frankfurt in Germany, across Slovakia and Czech Republic on one route, Austria and Hungary on the other route to reach Kyiv in Ukraine, through Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran and the Persian Gulf to Barka in the Sultanate of Oman.

The EPEG consortium comprises Rostelekom, Vodafone (formerly Cable & Wireless), the Iranian Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (TIC) and Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel).

  • Vodafone is responsible for segments from Frankfurt in Germany, to the Ukraine-Russia border. In Frankfurt, the EPEG cable system is terminated at ancotel's Kleyer 90 carrier neutral data center.
  • Rostelecom together with the Azerbaijani partner DeltaTelecom is responsible for segments the Ukraine-Russia border to the Russia-Azerbaijan border and through Azerbaijan to the Azerbaijan-Iran border.
  • The TIC is responsible for the segment from the Azerbaijan-Iran border to the Persian Gulf.
  • Omantel builds the submarine segment to Barka cable landing station, and the extension to Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman.

EPEG Cable Route

 

The EPEG cable system offers a low latency route between Frankfurt and Barka, Muscat, with 9,430 km and RTD of 91.97 ms over the short route, and RTD of 98.51 over the long route.

The EPEG cable system has an initial capacity of 540 Gbps (54*10Gbps), and design capacity up to 3.2Tbps. 

The total cost of the EPEG cable system is about US$200 million.

The EPEG was put in operation in December, 2012.

 

2Africa is one of the largest subsea projects in the world, connecting 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe and extending to Asia via the main Europe-to-Asia subsea cables, with a cable length of 37,000km long and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa.

The 2Africa cable system will implement a new technology, SDM1 from ASN, allowing deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs, incorporating optical switching technology to enable flexible management of bandwidth. Cable burial depth has also been increased by 50% compared to older systems, and cable routing will avoid locations of known subsea disturbance, all helping to ensure the highest levels of availability.

2Africa will be the first time Wavelength Selective Switching (WSS)-ROADM is utilized in Africa, allowing for more flexible capacity management. 2Africa is also the first system of its size to make use of an innovative aluminum conductor for submarine cable systems.

The 2Africa cable system has a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system.

The 2Africa consortium comprises China Mobile International, Djibouti Telecom, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC. 

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been awarded to build the 2Africa cable.

The 2Africa cable system is expected to go live in 2023/4.

2Africa cable map
2Africa cable map,  Source: 2Africacable.com