Bharti Airtel's subsidiary Network i2i Ltd has entered into a definitive agreement with Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE to acquire the latter's entire equity stake in Middle East North Africa Company Submarine Cable Systems SAE (MENA-SCS).
The acquisition, financial details of which were not disclosed,is subject to requisite regulatory approvals.
MENA-SCS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orascom. MENA-SCS owns and operates a submarine cable network between India and Europe covering Middle East, with options to extend the network to Africa. The submarine optic network is capable of carrying Multi Tera bits per second of data speeds.
MENA cable is live and operational connecting Mumbai-Oman-Saudi Arabia-Egypt and Italy. It further has the branching options to connect to other countries in Europe, Africa and Middle East via branching options to Cyprus, Greece, Djibouti, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Libya and Sudan.
The proposed acquisition of MENA-SCS is aimed at further strengthening Airtel's global network that currently runs across 225,000 route kms, covering 50 countries and five continents. The additional capacity will enable Airtel to serve the growing demand for data services and enterprise services across its footprint of 18 countries across South Asia and Africa.
''The proposed acquisition underlines our commitment to provide world-class service experience to the customers. MENA-SCS will be a good addition to our global network portfolio and provide us with a high quality and diversified new route to Western Europe and the rest of the world," said Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO-Global Voice & Data Business at Bharti Airtel.
''With the explosion of data usage in emerging markets, including India and Africa, this asset will provide us a scalable and diverse high capacity highway to serve our customers. In particular, it will provide impetus to India's emergence as a major regional internet hub serving customers across SAARC region, with seamless global connectivity,'' he added.
Currently, Airtel's global network portfolio includes ownership of i2i submarine cable system connecting Chennai to Singapore, consortium ownership of SMW4 submarine cable system connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Singapore and Europe, and new cable system investments like Asia America Gateway (AAG), India Middle East & Western Europe (IMEWE), Unity, EIG (Europe India Gateway) and East Africa Submarine System (EASSy).
It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighboring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China.