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Cable Compendium: a guide to the week’s submarine and terrestrial developments

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29 May 2015

Global submarine cable provider Huawei Marine Networks has signed a system design and construction agreement with a consortium comprising Kuala Lumpur-based Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Symphony Communications of Thailand and Cambodian fibre-optic provider Telcotech for the construction of a new submarine cable system, called Malaysia-Cambodia-Thailand (MCT). Spanning approximately 1,300km, the MCT cable will provide connectivity between Cherating (Malaysia) and Rayong (Thailand) with a branching unit to Sihanoukville (Cambodia), thus providing Cambodia with its first connection to a large capacity, high-speed submarine cable system. Access to neighbouring counties such as Laos and Myanmar will be achieved through further connections via terrestrial networks. Huawei Marine will deploy its optical amplifier, which supports up to six fibre pairs and utilises slim-line titanium housing, in order to reduce the operational costs associated with system deployment, by allowing for simultaneous deployment and burial beneath the seabed. The MCT cable system is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2016.

The Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS) fibre-optic cable, which will stretch from Jacksonville, Florida to Manta in Ecuador, has landed in San Juan in Puerto Rico, EFE has reported. When technical testing is complete (June 2015), the 6,000km cable will finally go live. The PCCS, which has a design capacity of 80Tbps, has landing stations in the US, Panama, Colombia, Aruba, Panama, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and Ecuador. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the PCCS cable consortium – including Telconet, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), Setar of Aruba, Telefonica Global Solutions and United Telecommunication Services (UTS) of Curacao – signed a turnkey contract with Alcatel-Lucent to deploy the 100Gbps-per-wavelenth submarine system back in December 2012.

Saudi Arabian telco Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has announced the commercial launch of the first phase of the Regional Cable Network (RCN) terrestrial fibre-optic system, stretching from Fujairah in the UAE through Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Amman in Jordan, the Saudi Gazette reports. The 5,000km cable provides data capacity of 1.2Tbps in multiples of 10G Ethernet. Going forward, the RCN consortium – comprising of Mobily, Etisalat Group, Mada Communications, Zain Jordan, Orange Jordan (formerly Jordan Telecom), Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE) and Turkcell Superonline – is planning to extend the regional cable to Turkey, once the ongoing political turmoil in Syria settles down. Further, the terrestrial link could be potentially rolled out to Europe via the Greek-Bulgarian borders. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the multi-operator agreement for the construction of the RCN project was signed in December 2010; the project involves the deployment of a 7,750km fibre-optic cable link. The infrastructure will intersect in five cities and will ultimately support capacity of 12.8Tbps.

Lithuanian fixed operator Teo has deployed a direct 10Gbps fibre-optic network linking Vilnius with Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, via Poland. Previously, data traffic between the two countries was transmitted via Teo’s points of presence (PoPs) in Stockholm and Frankfurt. Andrius Aglinskas, sales project manager of the International Business Unit at Teo, said: ‘The direct traffic flow between Vilnius and Kyiv will allow consumers to transfer data faster and safer. Taking into consideration the continuously growing international data volumes and the growing number of customers, we have plans to further increase the data transfer speed rate.’ Further, the operator disclosed that it has increased the total speed of its international internet traffic by 25% to 146Gbps in 2014.

The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) has launched a public consultation with regards to the potential deployment of a submarine cable linking the country with other locations. Interested parties – defined as owners of existing submarine cables, organisations planning new submarine cables, submarine cable vendors, telecoms operators, installation and maintenance providers and end-users – are invited to submit their responses to a number of questions related to the existing infrastructure, destination, demand, topology, financing and operating models, associated risks and potential alternative products, by 12 June 2015. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in January 2015 the government issued a tender for a feasibility study into the deployment of a fibre-optic submarine cable linking the mainland to the Mediterranean archipelago of Gozo.

Finally, in an interview with European Communications, Nokia NetworksCEO Rajeev Suri discussed the company’s integration plans for the planned merger with Alcatel-Lucent highlighting the fact that Alca-Lu’s submarine cable business will not be part of the new company and will likely be sold off. The executive also confirmed that going forward, the enlarged company will focus on ‘networks’. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in mid-April 2015 the two companies entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which Nokia will make an offer for all of the equity securities issued by Alca-Lu via a public exchange offer, which values the French-US vendor at EUR15.6 billion (USD16.5 billion) on a fully diluted basis. The proposed transaction is expected to close in H1 2016.

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