GCC-wide telecom consortium formed

A GCC-wide telecom consortium, named the Middle East-Europe Terrestrial System (MEETS), comprising du, Vodafone, Zain and Zajil, has been formed to build a high-bandwidth regional transmission cable system.
The consortium plans to have a state-of-art 100G optical transport network (OTN), built on top of a 1,400km terrestrial fibre optic cable to sustain the growing bandwidth demand of the region.
The new consortium was announced at a press conference held yesterday in Dubai on the sidelines of the Telecoms World Middle East event. The participants included du CEO Osman Sultan, Vodafone Qatar business services director Niraj Singh, Zain Group director and Mada Bahrain head Henri Kassab, Zajil Telecom MD and CEO Khalifa al-Soulah and datamena vice president Mahesh Jaishankar.
du will be the leading party in the UAE, Vodafone Qatar in Qatar, Zain in Saudi Arabia and Zajil in Bahrain and Kuwait.
MEETS will cater to regional and international ICT companies, meeting their wholesale capacity needs, while providing  connection to new areas and end customers.
MEETS is designed to be an economically and technically competitive alternative for connectivity within the Gulf. It will also enable a terrestrial route to Europe for reduced latency and higher reliability. Carriers will be able to access MEETS from the Fujairah landing station or at the carrier neutral hub datamena.
Vodafone Qatar CEO Kyle Whitehill said: “This exciting development is a significant part of Vodafone’s growing commitment to the region. The UAE is a natural hub for Vodafone operating companies in Asia, Africa and Europe to exchange traffic with each other and partners.
“We are also pleased to be able to enhance Qatar’s global connectivity in this way, in support of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Moreover, to have the opportunity to do so with some of our strongest partners, delivering new levels of customer choice and satisfaction ahead of widespread availability of 4G will further drive bandwidth demand across the region.”
du’s Osman Sultan said: “Customers in the Middle East today have ever-increasing high-speed data needs as it is becoming an integral part of today’s lifestyle. The announcement of MEETS with like-minded visionary partners is a step towards realising this need. “
Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer said that through MEETS, Zain  will  bring a higher quality of data connectivity and content to our customers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Zajil’s al-Soulah added that regional telecoms need more bandwidth to sustain growth, and MEETS is one such option offered by strong and stable consortium of telecom partners.
MEETS will have an initial capacity of 200Gbps and be carried over an Optical Ground Wire associated with a regional high-tension electricity network – reducing the risk of cable cuts. The system will be managed by a 24/7 network operating centre.

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