By Alex Ritman
Etisalat's fixed-line interest in Sudan, Kanar Telecommunications, will become the first East African landing station for Flag's underwater network.
Kanar Telecommunications, the Sudanese fixed-line operator in which UAE incumbent Etisalat owns a 40% stake, is making a multi-million dollar investment in Flag Telecom’s underwater Falcon cable network. Under the deal, Falcon’s first East African landing station will be based at Port Sudan.
The deal follows similar arrangements will operators across the Middle East, including Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar. Falcon will be the region’s first network providing Terabit/s speeds.
The Falcon system, which is being built by Alcatel Submarine Networks, incorporates the Gulf region’s first self-healing submarine network ring, providing all connected countries with reliable, high quality connectivity. Flag Telecom is hoping the network will provide the backbone to deliver broadband services to the underserved markets of the Middle East, North Africa and India. Following trials in Oman that started in April, and a pact with between Omantel and Flag, Muscat became the hub city for Falcon.
Aside from the investment in Falcon, which is scheduled to commence in 4Q05, Kanar also bought an undisclosed amount of capacity in the cable.
Kanar Telecommunications won the licence to launch Sudan’s second fixed-line network in November 2004, and once operational, Etisalat will manage, operate and maintain the network.