Africa: AIRTEL invests $700m in Euro-India gateway

By Nawa Mutumweno – Bharti Airtel has invested about $700 million in the Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable system to enhance diversity and capacity between Europe and the sub continent.

According to a statement issued by Michael Okwiri of Airtel Africa, the company has launched the EIG cable system, a 15 000 line with a capacity of 3.84 terabits per second.

EIG stretches from Mumbai in India to London with landings enroute in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Monaco & Marseilles, Gibraltar, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Apart from the segment of EIG in Egypt, the remaining cable is now available for commercial use. The deployment of EIG would boost the connectivity requirements of the African continent by complementing the largest existing submarine cable in Africa, the EASSy cable in which Airtel has investments.

Airtel would have the capability to connect its capacities in EIG and EASSy seamlessly and would offer customers enhanced international connectivity and network diversity.

With the launch of EIG, Bharti Airtel added 3rd state-of-the-art cable to its existing infrastructure on India-Middle East-Europe route.

The connection and combination between landing stations involved would allow Bharti Airtel to offer enhanced redundancy and network resilience to the customers in India, Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

The commencement of EIG is an important milestone in the telecommunications infrastructure and Bharti Airtel was proud to be part of the global consortium to build it, according to Ajay Chitkara, chief executive officer, Global Data Business at Bharti Airtel.

When fully activated with the Egypt link, the EIG will be the first direct high-bandwidth optical fibre system from the UK to India.

Meanwhile, Airtel Africa, which owns Airtel Zambia, recently scooped two international telecommunication awards at the premiere annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) global mobile awards at the National Palace in Baecelona, Spain.

Airtel bagged the best mobile money product or solution and the best customer care and customer relationship management (CRM).

The awards came from Airtel’s recently launched payment product known as Airtel OnLine Pay and a customer relationship management solution named Airtel Treasure Hunt.

According to Airtel’s chief marketing officer Andre Beyers, the winning of the awards just three months after launching in Africa was a testimony to the company’s commitment to providing more innovations for customers.

“We shall continue to provide affordable and innovative mobile services to consumers across the continent. To earn this award from the most authoritative and global constellation of peers in the industry, is a recognition of our efforts to place innovations in the hands of consumers in Africa,” Mr. Beyers said.

The Airtel OnLine Pay offers communities the ability to make cashless online payments and enhances mobile commerce and was launched in partnership with MasterCard and Standard Chartered Bank.

The second award was a joint submission with Tango Telecoms, a mobile system solutions provider in Uganda which saw Airtel come first for offering a Dynamic Pricing Service that allows the mobile phone firm to price Voice and Data services based on location, cell load,time of day, subscriber type and activity.

The service was launched in Niger, Uganda, Zambia and Congo and it would soon be unrolled to the rest of Africa.