According to MuscatDaily news, Oman Telecommunication Co (Omantel) is investing US$71mn in the AAE-1 submarine cable system and will build a landing station in France as part of the project. Omantel follows China Unicom, the MC Chair party of the AAE-1 consortium, to be the second largest investor in the AAE-1 submarine cable system.

Earlier this year, Omantel had teamed up with 16 service providers from around the world to construct the high-capacity Asia Africa and Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine cable system at a total cost of US$700mn.

Speaking to reporters at an investors’ session at the Muscat Securities Market, Omantel chief executive officer Talal Said al Mamari said the company’s gross US$71mn investment in the AAE-1 cable system includes a US$40mn investment as a member of the consortium building the system and US$31mn to build a landing station in France.

“The cable system’s starting point is in Singapore and it will extend up to Marseille, in France. The consortium made a bid for the landing station in France on a technical and commercial basis. We participated in that bid and won it.

Now Omantel will invest US$31mn to build the landing station,” Mamari said. He said that Omantel's landing station would be the first to be operated and owned by a foreign company in France.

“We expect to have new business relations in Europe as we will be able to serve operators in Europe as well as others from the rest of the world through this landing station. This is an interesting venture for us and it will open new doors in the wholesale business,” Mamari said.

He added that the AAE-1 cable system – the consortium for which includes operators from China, Hong Kong, India, Middle East and Europe - is expected to be completed in 2015.

The investors’ session was attended by analysts, brokers and investors, where Omantel’s senior officials discussed the current position of the company, its performance and earnings achieved in the first half of this year. Highlighting the company's growth in subscriber base and market position during the first half of 2014, Mamari said broadband data in both the mobile and fixed segments remains a key growth area for the company.

With its participation in the AAE-1 cable system Omantel will further strengthen its position as a key interconnection point for carriers from Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Spanning around 25,000km, the AAE-1 submarine cable is one of the first unique cable systems to connect Hong Kong to Singapore (via Thailand), Africa and Europe via Oman and provide an alternative and low latency short route between Hong Kong/Singapore and Europe.

Source:MuscatDaily, By Gulam Ali Khan, Edited by Winston