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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



EASSy Cable Route


EASSy Cable System Connectivity
EASSy Cable System Connectivity


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

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

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

The SAFE cable lands at the following cable landing stations:

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

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

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

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

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


SAFE Cable Route


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

The RJK cable system was designed with 560 Mbps PDH system over each fiber pair. The RJK cable system began operation in January 1995 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 consortium signed the construction and maintenance agreement in Hong Kong on January 27, 2014, and launched the AAE-1 cable system for commerical service in June 2017.

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

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

AAE-1 Cable System Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

SMW5 cable map

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

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

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

G2A Cable Route

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This PEACE cable system 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 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.


PEACE Cable route

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

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

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

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

The Africa-1 submarine cable system spans 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) will connect Mumbai to Europe and interconnect to the east coast of the US.

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

TEAMS Cable Map


The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) is a 5,500Km 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.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The TE North Cable System lands at:

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


Lebanese Ministry Of Telecom.Lebanese Ministry Of Telecom.ebanese Ministry Of Telecom Le banese Ministry Of TelecomLebanese Ministry Of TelecomLebanese Ministry Of Telecom.

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, France, Greece, and Israel, and the Raman Cable System connects Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, 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 of 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 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe and extending to Asia via the main Europe-to-Asia subsea cables, with a cable length of 37,000km long and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2Africa cable map
2Africa cable map,  Source:


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.

TEAS represents a unique opportunity to deploy an advanced network infrastructure which will provide an integration of data transport with open market access utilizing next-generation technology and is supported by local partners in each market.

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.

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.

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 will be landing at Yeroskipou and it is epxected to come into commercial operation during the first quarter of 2022.

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 will contribute 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.

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 (SMW6) is the latest project of the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe (SEA-ME-WE) series, from Singapore to Marseille via Egypt. 

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 comprises Bharti Airtel, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Djibouti Telecom, Orange, Singtel, Sri Lanka Telecom, Telecom Italia, TSA, etc.

SMW6 consortium has awarded the supply contract to SubCom.

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. 

The LaValette cable system is expected to be completed and operational by February 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, the owner of Aqua Comms.

On July 28, 2021, Digital 9 Infrastructure PLC 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). Digital 9 Infrastructure is investing over £50 million over a three-year period, alongside a leading global content provider and consortium.

Aqua Comms, the subsea fibre operating business acquired by Digital 9 Infrastructure, will market and operate the Europe Middle-East India Connect 1 (EMIC-1).

According to the announcement by Digital 9 Infrastructure, the EMIC-1 cable system comprises fiber pair(s) in a new subsea cable, instead of an independent subsea cable. 


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.

JSC “Advanced Technologies Management" was selected to manufacture and lay the Polar Express cable. 

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

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)