Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) has confirmed that has still not reached a final agreement with fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt (TE) with regards to the extension of its Middle East North Africa (MENA) submarine cable system. According to Daily News Egypt, OTH has been unable to conclude a deal for a licence which would allow it to extend the cable into Egypt, although the company is said to be ‘exploring all suitable ways’ to gain such a concession. The claims contradict earlier reports from local press, which had claimed that OTH had spent EGP10.8 million (USD1.6 million) to obtain approval from the Ministry of Transport to begin extending the international internet cable into Egyptian territory. Commenting on the previous claims, OTH’s head of investor relations Marwan Mohamed confirmed: ‘We haven’t received any approval for the licence and we are still trying to get the confirmation.’
All work on the MENA cable system is understood to have been suspended due to the difficulties in finalising terms with the Egyptian authorities, with the cable initially having been expected to reach Egypt as far back as 2010. When it is completed, the system will link Italy, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Oman, while also connecting to Mumbai in India via a fibre pair on the Gulf Bridge International cable system. The cable will have an initial capacity of 180Gbps between Italy and Egypt and a potential capacity of 5.76Tbps.