It has been more than four years since a cable cut in the Mediterranean near Alexandria brought Internet traffic in the region to a standstill. Although traffic was re-routed, the slowdown in Internet speeds was a wake-up call to the governments, service providers and the people of the region. They saw the reality of what it is like to face an unconnected world. That day in early spring 2008 really showed how much redundancy was needed in the region, and highlighted the opportunity to serve a market that has a tremendous hunger for connectivity.
Since then Tata Communications has been on a journey towards delivering better connectivity for our partners in the Middle East, and in turn the people of the region. While the cable cuts may have spurred some urgency, we could instantly see that there were big opportunities in this region.
When we evaluate a new market we look at how well it is served with capacity, the regulatory environment, our customers and service provider relationships, as well as the potential for overall growth. The Middle East met each of these criteria and it was definitely a market we wanted to participate in. We could see that there was both a bandwidth-hungry population, as well as a base of enterprise customers we could serve. It was the combination for growth, matched with regulators across the Gulf that are pro-telco and delivering transparency into their function and commitment to ICT development that convinced us a move into this market was the right one.
It made building and launching the TGN-Gulf cable a natural fit and also tied into our vision for a global network ring that would also serve local markets. We could reach more markets and connect more people, while delivering the redundancy the region needed. In March this year, we officially connected Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to Mumbai with the TGN-Gulf cable and then onward to the world using our TGN Global network. This cable system has really put the foundation in place to serve these markets with world-class connectivity.
As we can see, the Middle East has come a long way since the cable cuts in 2008, and we don’t see its growth slowing down. It has been important for us to stay flexible and prepare for this growth. We ensured that the TGN-Gulf system is able to add branches if we decide to connect further countries, and more opportunities to expand our reach in the region.
The excitement around the market in the Middle East is justified. We can see it from people in the street wanting bandwidth-hungry smart devices as well as from enterprise customers growing out and into the region. The Middle East is a market to watch closely. Its short-term growth is going to deliver long-term development, and we’re excited to be part of it.
I would welcome your thoughts on this topic. Please do get in touch…