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. 

FLAG Telecom (now Global Cloud Xchange) contracts with the following operators as landing parties:

  • Omantel, Al Seeb and Khasab landing stations, Oman
  • Du, Dubai cable landing station, UAE
  • Ooredoo, Doha cable landing station, Qatar
  • Integrated Telecom Company (ITC), Al Kohbar and Jeddah cable landing stations, Saudi Arabia
  • Batelco, Manama cable landing station, Bharain
  • Ministry of Communications (MoC), Kuawait City cable landing station, Kuwait
  • Iraqi Telecommunications and Post Company (ITPC),  Al-Faw cable landing station, Iraq
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure Company of I.R.Iran (TIC), Iran, Bandar Abbas and Chabahar cable landing stations, Iran
  • TeleYemen, Al Ghaydah and Al Hudaydah cable landing stations, Yemen
  • Telecom Egypt, Suez cable landing station, Egypt 
  • Canar Telecommunication Co. (Canar), Port Sudan cable landing station, Sudan
  • Lanka Bell, Colombo cable landing station, Sri Lanka
  • Global Cloud eXchange (formerly Reliance Globalcom), Mumbai cable landing station, India


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, further upgraded to more than 10Tbps with ASN's 100Gbps technology in 2014. The system has deployed a latest upgrade with Ciena's GeoMesh Extreme solutions to reach a system capacity of 36Tbps.  

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 (ZANTEL), 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 and retired in 2008

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 total cost of the EIG cable system is about US$700million.

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 12091km 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 consortium signed the Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA) and the Supply Contract on 5th Feb 2008, with a total porject cost of approximately US$480million. The Supply Contract was awarded to Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN). ASN was supported by NEC as its subcontractor to supply and install the wet plant from Mumbai to Jeddah.

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 and other operaters for TGN-EA branching into Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, extending the TGN-EA cable systems into the Middle East, and establishing the TGN-Gulf cable system.

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 and SEACOM are a common cable in some segments. In addition to its East African portion, SEACOM has two fiber pairs between Egypt and India, on a common cable with TGN-EA. TGN-EA represents another two fiber pairs from Egypt to India and the branch to Jeddah (i.e., TGN-Gulf). Both SEACOM and TGN-EA have one fiber pair on TE North for connectivity across Egypt to Europe.

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. 

Additionally, Gulf Bridge International (GBI) partners with the MENA Submarine Cable System to provide onward connectivity from Oman to India and Western Europe across Egypt. GBI owns the GBI Cable System towards India and has provided one fiber pair of the two to MENA.  MENA Submarine Cable System owns the MENA cable towards Egypt/Italy and has provided one fiber of the two to GBI.


MENA Cable Map


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

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.

Gulf Bridge International contracts with the following partners as landing parties in corresponding countries:

  • Omantel, Oman
  • du, UAE,
  • Batelco,  Bahrain
  • Vodafone Qatar, Qatar
  • Ooredoo(formerly Qtel), Qatar
  • Kuwait Ministry of Communications, Kuwait
  • Saudi Telecom Corporation (STC), Saudi Arabia
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure Company of I.R.Iran (TIC), Iran 
  • Iraq Telecommunications & Post Company (ITPC) , Iraq. 
  • Sify Technologies Limited, India

The GBI Cable System is the first submarine cable landing in Iraq, at the cable landing station in Al Faw, partnered with the state-owned Iraq Telecommunications & Post Company (ITPC).  GBI cable network reaches Europe through Al Faw and terrestrial cables across Iraq and Turkey.

Gulf Bridge International contracts with Telecommunication Infrastructure Company of I.R.Iran (TIC) to land the GBI cable in Iran, with onward connectivity to many central Asian countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azarbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and European nations.

The GBI cable system lands at:

  • Al Faw, Iraq
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • Bushehr, Iran
  • Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
  • Al Hidd, Bahrain
  • Al Khor, Qatar (Vodafone Qatar CLS)
  • Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
  • Al Seeb, Oman
  • Mumbai, India

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

Gulf Bridge International partners with the MENA Submarine Cable System to provide on connectivity from Oman to India and Western Europe across Egypt. GBI owns the GBI Cable System towards India and has provided one fiber pair of the two to MENA.  MENA Submarine Cable System owns the MENA cable towards Egypt/Italy and has provided one fiber of the two to GBI. The MENA submarine cable system was delayed due to permitting issues in Egypt, was not completed until November 2014 after purchasing terrestrial fiber pairs IRU from Telecom Egypt to connect Zaarafana cable landing station and the Abu Talat cable landing station. The MENA cable was acquired by Telecom Egypt in 2018.

GBI/MENA cable landing station in Mumbai is owned and operated by Sify Technologies Limited. In March 2018, Bharti Airtel acquired huge capacity on GBI Cable System between Mumbai to Milan and its upgrade rights.

GBI also extended its IP network in 2016, to connect to Singapore, Datamena, Smarthub, Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam.

GBI also acquired a stake in BBG extending its reach into Asia.


GBI Network
GBI Network


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 cable system terminates at diversified carrier neutral data centers in major regional hubs, including Telecom House in Hong Kong, Equinix SG3 and Global Switch in Singapore, and InterXion MRS1 in Marseille, France, and connects Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong via diverse terrestrial routes across Thailand. These unique features enable AAE-1 to deliver one of the lowest-latency routes between Hong Kong, India, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The AAE-1 cable system was initially designed with 100Gbps technology for a system capacity of more than 40 Tbps on 5 fiber pairs. 

The wet plant of AAE-1 cable system was supplied by SubCom for the segments from France to Thailan and NEC for the segments from Thailand to Hong Kong.

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.

In 2020, AAE-1 consortium upgraded the SLTE with Infinera’s Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4) technology.

In 2022, AAE-1 consortium upgraded the SLTE with Infinera’s Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE6) coherent 800G solution, to providing in excess of 100 Tbps.

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.

Quintillion is moving forward with a revised phase 2 project, trying to build the Japan-Washington State Trans-Pacific Cable System (JAWS TPCS).

Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) is initially a 15,000 km submarine cable from Pakistan to France, extended from Pakistan to Singapore for an additional 6,500km, with main trunk landing in Singapore, Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt and France and branches to the Maldives, Malta, Cyprus, etc. 

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 substantially reduces 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 HMN Tech (formerly Huawei Marine). 

Cyta deploys its private ARSINOE cable system connecting Cyprus with France and Egypt, as part of the PEACE cable system.

GO deploys its private LaValette cable system connecting Malta with France and Egypt, as part of the PEACE cable system.

Zain Global Connect (ZGC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Zain Group, deploys its private Jeddah to Marseille (J2M) cable system connects Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Marseille, France, as a subsystem of the PEACE cable system.

PEACE-MED, the Mediterranean segment of the PEACE cable system, including ARSINOE and LaValette, has been ready for service as of March 28, 2022.

PEACE cable system comprising the Pakistan-Egypt-Kenya segment and the Egypt-France segment went live on December 22, 2022, 


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 project promoter is IOX Cable Ltd., a company registered in Mauritius.

Alcatel Submarine Networks has been selected to supply and install the IOX cable system, with contract in force in October 2017.

The IOX Cable System was expected to be the first open cable system in the region and be completed in 2019. But it was suspended as the project promoter did not have the support to carry out the project. 

Mauritius Telecom has taken over and revived part of the IOX cable project as a new T3 submarine cable project, connecting Mauritius to South Africa, with branching units to Reunion Island and Rodrigues.



The Mauritius and Rodrigues Submarine Cable System (MARS) is a 700km undersea cable connecting the Indian Ocean Islands of Rodrigues and Mauritius.

The MARS cable lands in:

  • Baie Jacotet, Mauritius
  • Grand Baie (Rodrigues), Mauritius

The MARS cable system is built by PCCW Global and Mauritius Telecom, supplied by Huawei Marine, with a design capacity of 16Tbit/s. 

The MARS cable system was ready for service in February 2019.

The Africa-1 submarine cable system spans 10,000km, initially landings in Kenya, Djibouti, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France. The Africa-1 cable system will also land in Sudan, cross Egypt through diverse new terrestrial routes on the way to France, and further connect other countries in the Mediterranean such as Algeria, Tunisia and Italy.

This Africa-1 cable consists of 8 fiber pairs, to equipp with ASN 1620 Softnode transmission equipment, featuring high performance 200/300/400 Gbps advanced coherent XWAV line cards.

The Africa-1 consortium signed the Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA) on 11 December 2018 in Dubai. Currently, the Africa-1 consortium comprises Etisalat, G42, Mobily, Pakistan Telecommunication Company and Telecom Egypt (with other parties expected to join soon). 

The Africa-1 cable system is supplied by ASN, to be ready for service by the end of 2023.

Africa-1 Cable Map
Africa-1 Cable Map, Source: ASN


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 120 channels at 100 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, Hormuud Telecom and Telkom Kenya as landing partner in Kenya.

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

The DARE1 cable system is supplied by SubCom. 


DARE1 Cable Map
DARE1 Cable Map,                  Source: SubCom

The India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) connects Mumbai to Europe and interconnects with the India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) in Mumbai to reach Singapore.

IEX lands in the Middle East and Africa (Oman, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) as well as through the Mediterranean Sea with landings in France, Italy and Greece.

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

For more information, please refer to the India-Asia-Xpress (IAX).

IAX and IEX subsea cable systems

TEAMS Cable Map


The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) is a 5,000Km subsea cable connecting Mombasa in Kenya to Fujairah in the UAE, with two fiber pairs and upgradable system capacity of 5.6Tbps.

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

The shareholders of TEAMS (Kenya) Ltd includes:

  • 20% - Government of Kenya
  • 32% - Safaricom Ltd
  • 23% - Telkom Kenya
  • 10% - Kenya Data Networks Ltd
  • 6% - Wananchi Group
  • 5% - Jamii Telecom Ltd
  • 1.8% - Access Kenya Group
  • 1.2% - BCS Group

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) was awarded the $79 million contract to supply and construct the TEAMS cable system in October 2007.

The TEAMS cable system was completed in August 2009 and went live for commercial service on 1st October 2009.

LION (Lower Indian Ocean NetWork) is a 1000km submarine cable connecting Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius, ready for service in March, 2010.

The LION cable system consists of two fiber pairs, with an initial design capacity of 1.28Tbps (2*64*10Gbps).

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


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

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

Telkom Kenya operates a cable landing station in Nyali, Mombasa for the LION2 cable system.

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 an initial design capacity of 1.28Tbps  (2*64*10Gbps).



LION & LION2 cable system
LION & LION2 cable map
LION & LION2 system connectivity
LION & LION2 system connectivity

TE North (Telecom Egypt North) is a 3634km 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. InterXion MSR1, Marseille, France
  2. Abu Talat 1, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
  3. Pentaskhinos, Cyprus
  4. Annaba, Algeria

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, and Algerie Telecom's Medex 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.

TE North shares on fiber pair to Algerie Telecom's Medex cable system, which was ready for service in February, 2019.

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.

The METISS cable system is supplied by ASN. The project costs about EUR 50 million.

The METISS cable system has been in-service since March 2021.


METISS Cable Route


The Blue and Raman cable systems are Google's latest investments in subsea cables.

The Blue Cable System connects Italy, Greece and Israel, and the Raman Cable System connects Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and India. 

Both of the Blue and Raman cable systems consists of 16 fiber optic pairs, and are expected to be ready for service in 2024.

Google collaborates with Telecom Italia Sparkle, Omantel and others on the Blue and Raman cable projects. 

In fact, Sparkle's BlueMed cable shares fiber pairs and wet segment with the Blue cable system.

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 (Astara) to Jask on the coast of the Persian Gulf.
  • Omantel builds the submarine segments to Barka cable landing station as part its OMRAN/EPEG cable system, 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 98.51ms 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 46 cable landing stations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, with a cable length of 45,000km.

When it was first announce in May 2020, 2Africa was 37,000 km in length, connecting 23 countries, including 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa. In August 2021, 2Africa added 4 branches to extend connectivity to the Seychelles, the Comoros Islands and Angola and bring a new landing to south-east Nigeria. Later in September 2021, 2Africa officially announced the extension of 2Africa Pearls, extending to the Gulf, Pakistan and India, connecting 46 cable landing stations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, with a cable length of 45,000km.

2Africa is now the longest subsea cable in the world, followed by SMW3 of 39,000km.

The 2Africa cable system implements a new technology, SDM1 from ASN, 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 16 fiber pairs on key parts of the system.

The 2Africa consortium comprises China Mobile International, Djibouti Telecom, Meta (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: 2Africa Consortium


The Trans Europe Asia System (TEAS) is a new generation of data transport infrastructure which will serve the rapidly growing requirements of the markets between Europe and India.

The Trans Europe Asia System (TEAS) is developed by Cinturion Corp Ltd., with funding support from Stonecourt Capital, an investment firm based in New York.

TEAS is a trans-regional network that seamlessly links two new diverse connections across the Arabian Peninsula that are designed to support the future needs of key data centers, linking India, the Middle East and Europe. TEAS network is consists of:

  • A pair of submarine cables Med West (MW) and Med East (ME) that run from European landing points ( Marseilles, France and Bari, Italy ) to the Eastern Mediterranean coast.
  • Two terrestrial telecom networks continue across Jordan and Saudi Arabia, one on a northern route to Ras Al Khair and the other on a southern route to Aqaba.
  • From Aqaba there will be a submarine cable India Middle East (IME) that continues out of the Gulf of Aqaba, into the Red Sea, landing in Thuwal, K.S.A., and around the Arab Peninsula to Oman, U.A.E. and Bahrain landing in Ras Al Khair, with two branches extending to Mumbai across the Indian Ocean, with an additional branch to Gwadar.
TEAS Network
TEAS Network

The Arctic Connect subsea cable is a Finnish plan to link Europe and Asia through a submarine communication cable on the seabed along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), an initiative of the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications and implemented by the Finnish state-owned infrastructure operator Cinia Ltd.

The total length of the Arctic Connect subsea cable will be 13,800 km. The Arctic Connect subsea cable project is expected to be finished between 2022-2023 with an estimated cost of 0.8 to 1.2 billion USD.

The Arctic Connect project is part of the efforts to improve the connectivity in Arctic areas, in line with the objectives of the Arctic Council. Previously, Cinia has already planned and completed the fast and cyber secure C-Lion1 submarine cable connection between Finland and Germany. The Arctic Connect cable aims to meet the current availability of and additional need for fibre-optic connectivity that are planned from Southern Finland to Kirkenes, Norway and Murmansk, Russia.

In March 2016, the Finnish state-owned company Cinia Ltd announced to build the Arctic Connect undersea data cable connecting Europe with Asia. The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communication is the majority stakeholder of Cinia Ltd. Cinia has already built the C-Lion1 submarine cable that connects Helsinki and Rostock.

By adding the Arctic Connect subsea cable on the Arctic seabed, Cinia will be able to connect Europe with Russia and Asia, and provide a better internet connection with lower latency, thanks to the shorter distance. Additionally, the lower shipping traffic along the NSR will make Arctic Connect cable less prone to disruptions caused by human activities.

A preliminary study for Arctic Connect was launched in 2015, followed by a political feasibility study conducted the next year.

In June 2019, Cinia and Megafon signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the Arctic Connect subsea cable project. In December 2019, Megafon agreed to create the split-ownership joint venture Arctic Link Development Oy with Cinia for the construction of the Artic Connect submarine cable.

The Artic Connect submarine cable will be owned by an international consortium. According to a report by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communication, Norway, Russia, Japan and China have all shown interest in the Arctic Connect project.

Finland has already been successful in attracting investments into building data centres. In September 2019, Google announced an additional investment of €600 million to its already existing Hamina data centre, which raises the total investment by Google in Hamina to almost €2 billion.

In May 2021, Cinia and MegaFon announced to suspend the Arctic Connect project for further feasibility assessment.

Cinia clings to the Arctic connections and has participated in a new attempt to build a trans-Arctic subsea cable, the Far North Fiber project.

The Kalaam Network Optical Transit (KNOT) is a new fiber-optic terrestrial international cable system that enhances regional and international connectivity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The KNOT terrestrial cable system spans over 1,400km, providing capacity of 12.8 Tbps and beyond with lowest latency connectivity to the MENA region. Given the cable is carried over an optical ground wire associated with a regional high-tension electricity network (GCCIA), it reduces the risk of cable cuts significantly, as is evident from the very high availability of the GCCIA network over the past 5 years.

This KNOT terrestrial cable system is fully owned and operated by Kalaam Telecom Group, and supplied by Ciena.

The KNOT terrestrial cable system provides route diversity across the Middle East by connecting Kalaam Telecom's meshed transmission network across 12 countries, homing 16 Points of Presence (PoP) and further connecting the MENA region as a gateway through Kalaam Telecom's POPs in Europe and Asia. 

The KNOT terrestrial cable system is expected to go live in Q4-2020.


Kalaam Telecom Lauches KNOT in MENA

KNOT and PoPs of  Kalaam Telecom
KNOT and PoPs of Kalaam Telecom


The ARSINOE cable system connects Cyprus with France and Egypt, uses fiber optic technology to provide fast telecommunications services.

The ARSINOE cable system is a private system owned by Cyta in Cyprus, as a subsystem of the PEACE cable system.

The ARSINOE cable system lands at Yeroskipou, Cyprus.

Cyta have secured the relevant operating licence from the Ministry of Transport, Communications & Works, and is proceeding with the construction of the ARSINOE cable system. 

The ARSINOE cable system contributes significantly to the growing need of Cyprus for international connectivity, in particular for Internet and Cloud services. It also expects to serve the international and regional needs of neighbouring countries, thereby further strengthening the role of Cyprus as a telecommunications hub.

As part of the PEACE-MED, the Mediterranean segment of the PEACE cable system, the ARSINOE cable system has been ready for service as of March 28, 2022.


Hybrid African Ring Path (HARP) is a new subsea system launched by Telecom Egypt.

The HARP cable system will outline the African continent, forming the shape of a harp. It will connect coastal and landlocked African countries to Europe through the company’s widespread terrestrial and subsea infrastructure. Through HARP, Telecom Egypt will offer a wide range of capacity solutions, up to dark fiber, based on a layer two and layer three architecture that can connect multiple points on the system to one another.

Before launching the HARP cable system and in addition to involve in various subsea cable project, Telecom Egypt has participated in Google's Equiano and the 2Africa Consortium, the latest two subsea cable projects.

Telecom Egypt is building for the 2Africa cable system new terrestrial crossing routes linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean and two new cable landing stations, Port Said CLS and the Ras Ghareb CLS.   

Telecom Egypt has partnered with Google on the Equiano cable project, to acquire fiber pairs on Equiano cable system and build the Equiano St Helena branch. In addition, Telecom Egypt also concluded agreement with Google to provide Google with the first of its kind layer three meshed solution on multiple redundant and resilient Egypt crossing network infrastructure, and capacity on Telecom Egypt’s TE North cable system.

Telecom Egypt HARP Cable System
HARP Cable System, Source: Telecom Egypt 

JONAH is a 2,300km submarine cable connecting Tel Aviv, Israel to Bari, Italia, and extends to Europe using GTT's (formerly Interoute) pan-European fibre optic network from the cable landing station in Bari.

The JONAH cable system is equipped with two fiber pairs, capable of delivering 10G/40G/100G wavelengths, with a system capacity of more than 7 Tbps.

The JONAH cable system is owned and operated by Bezeq International Ltd., Israel's leading Internet and international telecommunications provider, founded in 1996 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bezeq, the Israeli Telecom Corp.

The JONAH cable system was supplied by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN), ready for service in Janurary 2012.

The Minerva cable system is an independent private cable subsystem of the MedNautllus cable system, forming a direct self-healing ring between Cyprus and Italy (Sicily), and through Telecom Italia Sparkle Pan-European networks, connecting to the rest of Europe, the US and beyond.

The MINERVA cable system is privately owned by Cytaglobal, and operated and managed by MED NAUTILUS for the sole use of Cytaglobal and its customers.

The Minerva cable system interconnects two landing stations in Cyprus (Yeroskipos & Pantaskhinos) directly with two landing stations in Italy (Mazara del Vallo & Catania).

The Minerva cable system uses a dedicated express fibre pair with 10Gbps DWDM wavelengths on the MedNautllus cable system, directly connecting Cyprus and Italy, ready for service in 2008. 

In January 2007, the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) and Mediterranean Nautilus Ltd. (fully owned subsidiary of Telecom Italia Sparkle) signed an agreement for the construction of the Minerva cable system.

Mediterranean Nautilus Limited is an Irish based company fully owned by Telecom Italia Sparkle. Mediterranean Nautilus owns and operates the MedNautllus cable system, a  submarine cable ring in the Mediterranean, which has been in operation since 2001. The MedNautilus network provides end-to-end connectivity from the eastern part of the Mediterranean to major destinations in Europe.

The MedNautllus cable system and The MINERVA cable system are supplied by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN).

Minerva Cable System
Minerva Cable System, Source: Cytaglobal


The MedNautilus Submarine System is a the first and only protected submarine ring-configured backbone in the Mediterranean, connecting Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel and Cyprus, and serves the growing capacity needs of the region.

The origin of the MedNautilus project lies with the 2600 km LEV submarine cable system linking Mazara Del Vallo (Sicily, Italy) with Tel Aviv (Israel) and Yeroskipos (Cyprus). Lev continues to serve the telecommunications needs of Israel and Cyprus, which was ready for service in March 1999, with two fiber pairs. 

The whole MedNautilus project consists of segments deployed in 4 phases.

  • Phase I links Catania with Chania, Haifa and Tel Aviv. This segment has been integrated with LEV cable to form a self-healing ring.
  • Phase II links Catania and Tel Aviv.
  • Phase III extends with branches connecting Istanbul (Turkey) and Athens (Greece).
  • Phase IV connects Alexandria (Egypt)


MedNautilus network
MedNautilus network


The MedNautilus Submarine System is owned and operated by Mediterranean Nautilus Limited, an Irish based company and fully owned by Telecom Italia Sparkle.  The MedNautilus network provides end-to-end connectivity from the eastern part of the Mediterranean to major destinations in Europe and is the leading connectivity solutions provider in the region. It uses state-of-the-art DWDM technology offering seamless connectivity between Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel and Cyprus by way of a 7,500 km backbone and is able to extend its reach to major cities in Europe, North America and the world thanks to protected interconnections with Telecom Italia Sparkle Pan-European and Global Backbones.

The MedNautilus Submarine System was orginally supplied by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), ready for service in 2001, upgraded and deployed with Infinera DTN-X platform to deliver up to 100Gbps services in 2013.

In 2007, the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) constructed its private Minerva cable system, using a dedicated express fibre pair on the MedNautllus submarine system, directly connecting Cyprus and Italy.

The ATHENA submarine cable system is a private cable subsystem wholly owned by Cyta, connecting Cyprus with Greece, through Cyta’s submarine landing station in Yeroskipos and MedNautilus Backbone landing station in Athens.

The ATHENA subsystem is the first direct fully redundant ring-configured network between Cyprus and Greece consisting of two integrated segments, one between Yeroskipos and Chania, the other between Chania and Athens, accessing additional international destinations via MedNautilus landing station in Athens.

Cyta, the premier telecommunications provider in Cyprus, and Telecom Italia Sparkle concluded agreement for the construction of the ATHENA submarine cable system in June, 2011, to build the ATHENA submarine cable system as a subsystem of the MedNautllus submarine system.

In 2007, Cyta and Telecom Italia Sparkle signed agreement for the construction of the Minerva cable system, also a subsystem of the MedNautllus submarine system, using a dedicated express fibre pair on the MedNautllus submarine system, directly connecting Cyprus and Italy. As part of the ATHENA agreement, the MINERVA cable system was upgraded to reach over 80Gbps of active protected capacity. Furthermore, the MINERVA cable system was extended through terrestrial connections up to Marseilles, in order to enhance Cyta’s protection capacity for its private ALEXANDROS submarine cable between Cyprus-France-Egypt, which is a subsystem of TE North.


ALASIA is a 240km repeaterless submarine cable system connecting Pentaskhinos, Cyprus and Tartus, Syria. The ALASIA cable system interconnects with Cyta’s ALEXANDROS cable system (a subsystem of TE North) to provide connectivity to European.

The ALASIA cable system has a 25.6 Tbps design capacity with eight fiber pairs, ready for service in 2016.

The ALASIA cable system is jointly owned and operated by Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) and Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE). 

This ALASIA cable system complements the UGARIT Cable System, to offer an alternative routing and improve resilience between Cyprus and Syria.

The UGARIT cable system has been upgraded to form a ring system with the BERYTAR and CADMOS cable systems, connecting Syria-Lebanon and Lebanon-Cyprus respectively, offering additional access capabilities and alternate routings for improved protection. The seamless self-healing ring between the three countries is designed with 40 wavelengths, each capable of achieving up to 40Gbps. 

The KIMONAS cable system connects Cyprus and Greece through a Cyta wholly-owned subsea fibre pair between Cyta’s landing station in Pentaskhinos and MedNautilus landing station in Chania, Crete.

KIMONAS is Cyta’s first wholly owned optical fibre cable system connecting Cyprus and Greece, complements alternative Cyta’s segments on the MedNautilus subsea cable network and in particular the MINERVA and ATHENA rings, which connect Cyprus with Sicily, and Athens with Crete, respectively.

Extending to Athens through the ATHENA ring and beyond to Bulgaria via Thessaloniki, by utilizing fibre infrastructure of wholly-owned subsidiary Cyta Hellas in Greece, KIMONAS facilitates the creation of a new telecommunications corridor, connecting the Balkans and Central Europe with Egypt and other Middle East destinations, via Cyprus, enabling the interconnection to Turkey in the East and Italy and other European destinations in the West through Telecom Italia Sparkle’s network.

The KIMONAS cable system was ready for service in the end of 2015.

The SEA-ME-WE 6 (South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 6, or SMW6)  is a 19,200km submarine cable system between Singapore and France (Marseille), crossing Egypt through terrestrial cables. 

The SMW6 cable system consists of 10 fiber pairs, with 12.6Tbps per fiber pair and 126Tbps system capacity, using the latest SDM technology, cost approximately US$500million.

SMW6 consortium includes Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), Bharti Airtel Ltd. (India), Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun Public Limited Company (Dhiraagu Maldives), China Unicom (China), Djibouti Telecom, Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Orange (France), Singtel (Singapore), Sri Lanka Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia, Telin (Indonesia), Trans World Associates (Pakistan), and Batelco. 

Batelco, part of the Beyon group, joined the SMW6 consortium in May 2023, to invest in the SEA-ME-WE 6 Gulf Extension, the Al Khaleej Cable, fully owned by Batelco.

It's reported that the budgetary costs on this project for BSCCL and SLT are approximately US$80million (Tk693 crore) and US$60million respectively. 

Airtel has acquired one Fiber Pair on the main SEA-ME-WE-6 system and will co-build four Fiber Pairs between Singapore – Chennai – Mumbai as part of the cable system. Airtel will land the SEA-ME-WE-6 cable system in India at new landing stations in Mumbai and Chennai.

Dhiraagu acquired in October 2022 a $20 million debt financing facility from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to expand mobile and internet coverage in Maldives, including a first $9.1 million facility as the first tranche to support Dhiraagu’s general capital expenditure and working capital requirements such as network capacity upgrades, expansion of data centers, and mobile service enhancements in and outside the capital Malé, and a second $10.9 million to finance further general capital expenditure and funding requirements for SMW6. 

SMW6 consortium has awarded the supply contract to SubCom, expected to be ready for service in Q1 2025.

SMW6 demonstrates the increasing geopolitical tensions on subsea cable industry between the US and China. Without the intervention by the US government, the Chinese supplier HMN Tech would have won the supply contract for the SMW6 project, through a fair bid and competition against SubCom, NEC and ASN. In early 2020, HMN Tech was supposed to win the SMW6 cable project with the lowest bid of approximately $500 million and the convincing technical solutions and proposals. In order to oust HMN Tech from the SMW6 cable project and help SubCom to win the contract, the US government intervened in the international bidding project, proffered sweeteners – and warnings – to the certain SMW6 consortium members, with diplomatic and commercial measures. In February 2021, SubCom and HMN Tech were shortlisted and given a chance by the SMW6 consortium to submit a “best and final offer.” SubCom lowered its bid to close to $600 million, while HMN Tech was now offering to build the SMW6 cable for $475 million. Finally, SubCom won and announced that the SMW6 consortium had awarded it the contract to build the SMW6 cable in February 2022. REUTERS had a special report to cover the story: U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves – over internet cables.

SEA-ME-WE 6 cable map
SEA-ME-WE 6 cable map, Source: SMW6 consortium


The Silphium cable system is a 425km repeaterless submarine cable system connecting Darnah in Libya with Chania in Greece, across the Mediterranean Sea.

The Silphium cable system is first wholly-owned submarine cable system of the Libyan International Telecom Company (LITC),  with OTEGLOBE providing the landing facilities in Chania and access to their vast European network. 

The Silphium cable system has an initial system capacity of 1.2 Tbps, using 10 Gbps DWDM technology,  upgradable to 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps.

Silphium is the third Libyan international submarine cable system, in addition to Europe India Gateway (EIG) and Italy-Libya. There is also a domestic submarine cable system in Libyan, the Libyan Fiber Optic Network (LFON).

Silphium was supplied by Huawei Marine (now HMN Techonologies), ready for service in January 2013.

The LaValette cable system is a private cable system owned by GO, connecting Malta to Europe and Asia, as part of the PEACE cable system.

GO invests €25 million in the La Valette cable system, the 3rd submarine cable owned by GO, in additional to its existing Italy-Malta cable system and GO-1 Mediterranean cable system, both connecting Malta with Sicily, Italy. 

The LaValette cable system makes GO the first operator in Malta to have additional redundancy on international connectivity to another country other than Italy. The other two operators in Malta, Epic and Melita, each has one international subsea cable connecting Malta to Sicily, Italy.

Furthermore, the LaValette cable system lands on the West Coast of Malta, making GO the first and only operator to have access to international connectivity from a shore other than that from where the rest of the other international submarine cable systems land. 

As part of the PEACE-MED, the Mediterranean segment of the PEACE cable system, the LaValette cable system has been ready for service as of March 28, 2022.

The Alval (Alger-Valencia) and Orval (Oran-Valencia) submarine cable system, the Alval / Orval cable system, connects the El-Djamila cable landing station in Algiers and the Aïn El-Turck cable landing station in Oran to the Valencia cable landing station in Spain, linking Algerian network to European network with diverse routes.

The Alval / Orval cable system consists of two fiber pairs in each route, with a total system capacity of 40Tbps, using 100*100Gbps DWDM technology.

The Alval / Orval cable system is the first submarine system managed 100% by Algeria, privately owned by Algeria Telecom, together with its subsidiary Algeria Telecom Europe in Spain.

IslaLink in Spain is the landing partner and offers its Valence cable landing station for the landing of Alval / Orval cable in Valencia, Spain.

The Alval / Orval cable system costs about US$ 27 million, supplied by ASN.

In March 2015, the Algerian Ministry of Post, Information Technology and Communications and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) signed a turnkey agreement for the deployment of the Orval system, an over 560 km fiber-optic undersea cable linking Oran in Algeria to Valencia, Spain. In the same year, by the signing a notification of agreement by the Ministry of Post and ICT, authorizing Algeria Telecom to join the Orval project through the implementation of the Alval project (adding a branch of 210km), financed from Algeria Telecom's own funds.

The Alval / Orval cable system was put into commercial operation on December 31, 2020, although there was a false inauguration on December 9, 2019.

The Medex cable system is a subsystem of the TE North cable system, by adding a branch of 184km connecting Annaba, Algeria to Marseille, France and Abu Talat, Egypt.

The Medex cable system consists of two fiber pairs in the Annaba Branch, one fiber pair from Annaba CLS to Abu Talat CLS, and one fiber pair from Annaba CLS to Marseille CLS, upgradable to 10Tbps per fiber pair.

The Medex cable system costs about US$32 million, including the Annaba Branch of 184km and one fiber pair on the TE North trunk from Marseille, France to Abu Talat,Egypt.

The Medex cable system was ready for service in February 2019, supplied by ASN.

The Medex cable system is jointly owned by Algerie Telecom and PCCW Global. In addition to the Medex cable system, Algerie Telecom owns the Alval / Orval cable system connecting Algeria to Valencia, Spain.

The Med Cable network is a 1,300km submarine cable networks connecting Marseilles to Algiers and Annaba in Algeria.

The Med Cable network is privately owned by Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E. (OTH). The Med Cable Network was invested by Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding S.A.E. (OTMT) in 2005, through its fully owned subsidiary Med Cable Ltd (Med Cable), based in the UK. In November 2012, OTH acquired 100% of Med Cable for a value of Euro 12.3 million.

The Med Cable Network was ready for service in October 2005, supplied by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN).


The Europe Middle-East India Connect 1 (EMIC-1) is a new intercontinental subsea cable and terrestrial fiber system developed by Digital 9 Infrastructure (D9), the owner of Aqua Comms. The EMIC-1 cable system is in fact a sub-system of 2Africa Pearls.

On July 28, 2021, D9 reported to the London Stock Exchange that is has entered into definitive agreements to deploy over £50 million (US$69.5 million) into the development of a new intercontinental fibre system, the Europe Middle-East India Connect 1 (EMIC-1). D9 is investing over £50 million over a three-year period, alongside a leading global content provider and consortium.

D9 announced later that the company has agreed to purchase rights to one fibre pair from Edge Network Services Ltd (a subsidiary of Facebook) on the recently announced 2Africa Pearls fibreoptic cable system, enabling connectivity from Europe through Egypt to Oman and India. D9 will market the route as EMIC-1.

Aqua Comms will operate and manage the capacity on behalf of D9 as an integral part of its expanding global subsea network.


The Polar Express subsea cable is a 12,650km subsea cable along Russia's northern coast between the village of Teriberka in Kolsky District of Murmansk, on the Barents Sea, to the eastern port city of Vladivostok.

The Polar Express subsea cable project is being developed by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport (Rosmorrechflot), and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise (FSUE) Rosmorport. aiming to supply stable internet in Arctic port towns as well as the Kamchatka peninsula and Sakhalin, at a cost of 65 billion roubles ($889 million),exclusively financed by the state.

The Polar Express subsea cable system will be operated by the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Morsviazsputnik (FSUE Morsviazsputnik). Prior to the Polar Express project, the main activity of Morsviazsputnik was the provision of Inmarsat mobile satellite communication services to legal entities and private users under the license of the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Communications.

Contractors for the Polar Express project includes:

  • Contracting organization for the production of cable - Cable Production Division of the PTA Group
  • Cable-laying Contractor -  PTA Group Shipping company

The Polar Express subsea cable system consists of six fiber pairs, offering up to 104 Tbps of capacity, with

  • two fiber pairs for direct communication on the main section from Murmansk to Vladivostok with a length of 12650 km;
  • two fiber pairs for the organization of four independent branches to intermediate objects at the landing points: Amderma, Dixon, Tiksi, Pevek, Anadyr, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk;
  • two fiber pairs for the organization of a backbone reserve for the future development of the entire communication network.

The Polar Express subsea cable is expected to be completed in 2026.

Polar Express Subsea Cable Route
Polar Express Subsea Cable Route, Source: Rosmorrechflot (Morflot)


The Medusa cable system is a 8760km submarine cable system connecting five Mediterranean EU countries (Cyprus, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) with four countries from the EU's Southern Neighbourhood (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia).

The Medusa cable system consists of landing points in:

  • Lisbon (Carcavelos) and Sines (Start Campus), Portugal
  • Barcelona, Torreguadiaro, Zahara and Alacant, Spain;
  • Marseille, France;
  • Mazara del Vallo, Italy
  • Yeroskipou, Cyprus
  • Tétouan and Nador, Morocco;
  • Bizerte, Tunisia
  • Algiers and Collo, Algeria;
  • Port Said, Egypt

The Medusa cable system consists of 24 fibre pairs, designed with 20Tbs per fibre pair for a total system capacity of 480Tbps, deployed with  protection and predictive maintenance of submarine cable infrastructures (PSI) and an intelligent monitoring system based on DAS (Distributed Acoustic Sensing) technology.

The Medusa cable system is funded by AFR-IX Telecom, Orange and the European Union though CEF (Connecting Europe Facilities) grants.  Orange provides landing infrastructures in France, Tunisia and Morocco, and will land Medusa cable at its new cable landing infrastructure in Marseille.

The construction contracts have been awarded to industry leaders Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) and Elettra Tlc, with contract into force (CIF) in early July 2023. 

The Medusa cable project is estimated to cost €342 million (US$374 million), with financial supports by multiple EU fund grants including but not limited to:

  • a €40 million EU grant to AFX-IX telecom by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a debt finance for the infrastructure with a contribution of up to €100 million in loans.
  • a €7.79 million grant to AFX-IX telecom for the deployment of a pair of dark fibre between Lisbon, Zahara de los Atunes, Barcelona, Marseille and Mazara del Vallo, i.e., the Atlantic-Mediterranean Data Gateway (ATMED-DG) project, as part of the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) Digital programme
  • a €10 million grant to Orange by the EU Commission for the development of submarine cable between Marseille (France) and Bizerte (Tunisia), as part of the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) Digital programme
  • a €1.39 million grant to AFX-IX telecom by the EU Commission for studies on MEDUSA Canary Island Submarine Cable, as part of the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) Digital programme
Medusa cable route
Medusa cable route, Source: AFR-IX


The Far North Fiber is a 17,000km submarine cable system linking Europe and Asia through the Arctic region, from Japan, via the Northwest Passage, to Europe with landings in the US (Alaska) and Canadian Arctic, Norway, Finland and Ireland.

The Far North Fiber project was initiated by Far North Digital, LLC (US Alaskan company), together with its Canadian affiliate True North Global Networks.

In December 2021, Cinia Ltd from Finland and Far North Digital LLC announced a joint effort to build the Far North Fiber subsea cable linking Asia and Europe. In Feburary 2022, Japanese ARTERIA Networks Corporation joined the consortium.

In October 2022, Far North Digital LLC, Cinia and Arteria formed a joint corporation Far North Fiber Inc. to develop and operate the project.

The Far North Fiber (FNF) cable system consists of 12 fiber pairs, with 10 FPs for express route and 2 FPs reserved for local add/drops, with design capacity up to 150Tbps:

  • Express Spectrum: 60λ X 200G/FP = 12 Tbps/FP without regeneration.

  • Add Drop Spectrum: 60λ X 250G/FP = 15 Tbps/FP with regeneration.

  • Low Latency Express Capacity: 10FP x 12 Tbps/FP = 120 Tbps

  • Local add/drop capacity: 2FP x 15 Tbps/FP = 30 Tbps

The Far North Fiber (FNF) cable system is projected to cost approximately CAD1.48 billion (or US$1.17 billion, or Euro 1.1 billion), supplied by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), expected to be ready for service by the end of the year 2026. 

There is a similar project, Arctic Fiber, planned to connect Japan and Europe through Canadian Arctic, with its Alaska portion activated in 2017. Quintillion Subsea Holdings LLC (“Quintillion”) acquired the assets of Arctic Fibre in May 2016. Quintillion is now planning the Japan-Washington State Trans-Pacific Cable System (JAWS TPCS), the 2nd phase of its Arctic Fibre project.

There was also an attempt to build a trans-Arctic subsea cable linking Europe and Asia through the Northern Sea Route (NSR), the Arctic Connect project initiated by Cinia, in a partnership with Russian operation MegaFon and others. The Arctic Connect project was suspended in May 2021, for further feasibility assessment.

Far North Fiber cable map
Far North Fiber cable map, Source: Cinia


The Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS) is a 1917km submarine optic fibre cable between Seychelles and Tanzania, the first international submarine cable connecting the Seychelles.

SEAS links the main island Mahé in Seychelles to the African coast in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. While the Cable Landing Station in Seychelles is located in the capital Victoria. In Tanzanian, SEAS is co-located with the EASSy international submarine cable branch in ZANTEL's Cable Landing Station in Dar Es Salaam.

SEAS is owned and operated by the Seychelles Cable Systems Company Ltd (SCS), an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) comprising the Seychelles Government, Cable & Wireless (Seychelles) and Airtel (Seychelles), established in 2008 for the construction and operation of the Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS). 

In November 2010, SCS awarded ASN (ALCATEL Submarine Networks) a supply contract of over €24 million (approximately US$30 million) for the manufacturing and laying of the Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS). 

The overall project cost of SEAS is about €27.2 million, financed through 40% equity and 60% debt. Equity contributions are split between three shareholders, the Government of the Seychelles, Cable and Wireless Seychelles and Airtel. For the funding of the Government’s shareholding, the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund provides, through the European Investment Bank, a Grant of €4 million (equivalent of US$5.5 million US Dollars. And the long-term debt is co-financed by the European Investment Bank (€7.9 million) and African Development Bank (€7.5 million). 

The Seychelles Cable Systems Ltd (SCS) is a private-public partnership comprising of Airtel, Cable and Wireless Seychelles and the Seychelles Government. The EUR 27 million overall project cost is 

SEAS was ready for service on August 15, 2012, with initial capacity of 20Gbps and a system capacity of 320Gbps,  upgraded to support system capacity of 32 x 100Gbps in January 2018.

In addition to SEAS, the Seychelles Cable Systems Ltd (SCS) invests US$20million in PEACE cable system, the second international submarine cable connecting Seychelles. SCS is also a shareholder of WIOCC, the largest shareholder in the EASSy Consortium

Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS)
Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS)


The Jeddah to Marseille (J2M) submarine cable system connects Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Marseille, France, being a subsystem of the PEACE cable system.

The J2M cable system is developed by Zain Global Connect (ZGC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Zain Group. ZGC is in charge of consolidating Zain Group’s initiatives into the wholesale carrier domain. The investment marks ZGC’s first subsea cable investment and ownership. Zain Saudi Arabia acts as the landing party in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

As the PEACE cable system is designed with an open cable system architecture, that will offer Zain full operational independence. 

The J2M cable system is expected tol be ready for service in early 2023.

J2M cable route
J2M cable route


The East to Med Corridor (EMC) is a new submarine and terrestrial cable data transmission system connecting Europe with Asia via Greece and Saudi Arabia.

The EMC project utilizes the geographical location of Greece and Saudi Arabia to create a data corridor necessary for the global economy, while placing the two countries at the center of transport, storage and data generation in Eurasia. 

The EMC consortium comprises center3 (formerly MENA HUB, a subsidiary of stc), Telecommunication Telephony Satellite Applications (TTSA, Greece), Public Power Corporation (PPC, Greece) and Cyta (Cyprus).

In the Greek-Saudi Business Forum on May 31, 2022, the CEO of MENA HUB, Fahad Alhajeri, the President and CEO of PPC, George Stasis, the CEO of CyTA, Andreas Neokleous, and the Executive Director of TTSA, Alexandros Sinkas signed the Heads of Terms regarding the obligations of each party in the implementation of the EMC project.

On July 26, 2022, Mena Hub, TTSA, PPC and Cyta signed the Shareholders' Agreement to form a joint venture for the EMC project.

The total cost of the EMC project is around USD 850 million. The completion of the project is estimated for the 4th quarter of 2025.

In May 2023, center3 and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) announced the signing of supply contract. 

The Red2Med cable starts from the Ras Ghareb landing point in the Red Sea to the landing station in Port Said in the Mediterranean via the Golden Path on Al Murshideen Road (the Internet Corridor of Egypt, ICE).

The Red2Med cable offers a new crossing solution composed of three segments which are detached from the conventional public roads:

  • it begins in the south from the Al-Faston sea link to the Red Sea, which connects the landing stations in the Red Sea, Ras GharebZafarana and Suez, with a length of 200 km;
  • then extends north to the path of the Internet Corridor of Egypt ( ICE) along the western bank of the Suez Canal, to link Suez Landing Station 2 and Port Said Landing Station 2, with a length of 200 km;
  • to finally connect to the Fieston sea link for the Mediterranean Sea, which is scheduled to link the landing stations in the Mediterranean.
Red2Med Cable Route
Red2Med Cable Route, Source: Telecom Egypt


The Red2Med cable represents the shortest and fastest data transmission paths between East and West and the continents of Africa, Europe and Asia

The Red2Med cable is wholly owned and operated by Telecom Egypt.

Trans-Egypt Routes and Cable Landing Stations
Trans-Egypt Routes and Cable Landing Stations, Source: Telecom Egypt Interactive Map


CADMOS-2 is a new subsea cable between Cyprus and Lebanon, expected to be operational in 2024.

T3 submarine cable system connects South Africa with Mauritius, with branching units to Reunion Island and Madagascar.

T3 submarine cable project is developed by Mauritius Telecom, in a partnership with Liquid Telecom.

Liquid Telecom acts as the landing partner to land the cable in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal province on the east coast of South Africa. METISS cable system also lands at the Amanzimtoni cable landing staion

T3 submarine cable project is a revival of the original IOX submarine cable project, a 8,850 km system to connect Mauritius with South Africa and India.

T3 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.

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been contracted to supply and install the T3 submarine cable system.

T3 cable map


Barracuda Submarine Cable System (Barracuda SCS) is designed to connect Alicante to Marseille and Libon, spanning approximately 2,200km and being sub-system of the Medusa cable system.

Alicante is a port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca, and the capital of the Alicante province.

The Barracuda SCS will be owned and operated by Valencia Digital Port Connect SL (VDPC), a Spanish company registered in Alicante on 07/29/2021, under the National Classification of Economic Activities (CNAE 2009)  6110 - Cable Telecommunications.

The Barracuda SCS is expected to consist of 1 fiber pair connecting Alicante to Lisbon and 1 fiber pair connecting Alicante to Marseille, each with capacity of 20Tbps (40*500Gbps).  

VDPC will build an open cable landing station in Alicante (Alicante CLS), to host the Barracuda SCS and up to 3 additional subsea cable systems. The Alicante CLS will be a 2,500 sqm facility, with an initial construction budget of over €10mn (US$11mn), will have the capacity for up to four subsea cables and house a data center with 96 racks as well as a meet-me room.

VDPC will build a terrestrial network of 1,300km connecting the Alicante CLS to major data centers in Madrid and Valencia.

Barracuda SCS
Barracuda SCS - part of Medusa cable system, Image courtesy: VDPC

The ANDROMEDA cable system connects Israel, Cyprus, and Greece through an alternative low latency path between Europe and the Middle East, extending through additional subsea and terrestrial links westwards to the Balkans and important destinations in Central and Western Europe, and eastwards to the Arabian Peninsula and other destinations.

The ANDROMEDA cable system is jointly built and owned by Tamares Telecom and Grid Telecom.

Tamares Telecom is a leading fiber-based international communications and data service provider and network operator, a subsidiary of Aluma Infrastructure Fund of Israel.

Grid Telecom is a wholly owned subsidiary, and the telecommunications vehicle of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) of Greece. 

Al Khaleej Cable is a branch of the SEA-ME-WE 6 cable system, i.e., the SEA-ME-WE 6 Gulf Extension, spanning 1,400km long to connect Bahrain with regional countries including Qatar, UAE, Oman, etc. 

Al Khaleej Cable is expected to diversify routes and augment international connectivity for the region.

Al Khaleej Cable is fully wwned by Batelco, part of the Beyon Group, supplied by SubCom.


Al Khaleej Cable
Al Khaleej Cable, SEA-ME-WE 6 Gulf Extension