By Omantel Press Release

Gulf Bridge International (GBI), the Middle East's first privately owned submarine cable operator, is pleased to announce that Omantel, Oman's leading telecommunications provider and experienced landing site operator, will provide a landing station for GBI's cable in Oman.

The launch of GBI's cable system will provide telecom operators and other communications companies, both in the region and globally, with greater choice, value, diversity and resilience. The GBI Cable System, which will utilize the latest subsea fiber cable technology, will connect all the countries of the Gulf region to each other and provide onward connectivity to Europe and Asia.

“I am delighted that Omantel, the premier telecoms company in Oman and GBI have reached an agreement to provide a landing station for GBI's Cable System,” commented Mr. Hamad Al Mannai, Executive Vice Chairman of GBI. “The unique geographical location of Oman represents the gateway between the Gulf and the global connectivity market. GBI is excited to conclude this major milestone.”

“Today's agreement with GBI confirms Omantel's position as the region's leading telecom operator providing a gateway to and from the Gulf to the international subsea cables connecting to the rest of the world,” said Mr. Abdulraheem Al Bahlani, General Manager Business Relations, Wholesale. “We are confident that we will continue to see significant growth in international traffic, as consumers and businesses in the Gulf Region become more dependent on communications applications and services.”

“Oman has strengthened its position to become the focal point for the region for the provision of submarine landing stations and this new agreement with GBI is the latest in a number of agreements we have made with international companies as we implement our strategy to be a HUB for global companies in the region,” he added.

Upon signing the Landing Party Agreement, Mr. Ahmed Mekky, Board Member and CEO of GBI, said, “Oman's location at the entrance to the Gulf, where the majority of international subsea cables meet, is strategically important to GBI as it allows GBI easy access to both Asia and Europe. We are forecasting tremendous growth in regional traffic to and from the Gulf and this agreement will ensure we can provide onward connectivity for our customers both eastwards and westwards.”

Scheduled to launch in 2011 and designed to operate for up to 25 years, the GBI cable system will connect all the Gulf countries via a core ring, which can re-route traffic thereby increasing resilience. With a design capacity of up to 5 terabits per second on certain cable sections, the GBI Cable System will have the capability to meet the rapid growth in demand that has been forecast for traffic originating and terminating in Gulf.