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 partners with the MENA Submarine Cable System to provide onward connectivity from Oman to India and Western Europe across Egypt. Gulf Bridge International has one fiber pair on the MENA cable from Oman to Mumbai and one fiber pair on the MENA cable from Oman to Italy. In March 2018, Bharti Airtel acquired the ownership of India leg of Gulf Bridge International (GBI) submarine cable, while GBI/MENA cable landing station in Mumbai is owned and operated by Sify Technologies Limited.