By Submarine Cable NewsFeed

Telecom Egypt (TE) has announced the signature of a US$50 million contract with EIG in relation to its TE Transit Corridor.

The geographic position of Egypt allows for an efficient crossing from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea for submarine cable systems. TE being Egypt's only fixed network operates the TE Transit Corridor, which comprises the terrestrial infrastructure linking the two Seas, over multiple diverse and redundant routes. Additional terrestrial routes over the Sinai Peninsula add to the unique resilience of the TE Transit Corridor and favourable submarine cable build economics by avoiding shallow waters. The TE Transit Corridor was developed over

nearly 20 years to be the route of choice for crossing submarine cable systems in this geography, which multiplies the benefit of the crossing systems through TE for their ability to achieve interconnection and restoration with other systems.

The EIG cable system, targeted to be operational in second quarter of 2010, is a 15,000-kilometer system that will connect 13 countries and three continents. Landings are planned in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and India.

In addition to complementing existing high bandwidth cable systems in the region, the EIG cable system will provide much needed diversity for broadband traffic currently relying largely on traditional routes from Europe to India.

Hence, EIG will be the first consortium system to use TE North and South new landing stations in Sidi Kerir and Ras Sidr, and shall land in Europe in Monaco and connect thereof to Marseille, as well as the UK. 16 telecommunications companies are investing in the project: AT&T; Bharti Airtel; BT; C&W; Djibouti Telecom; Du; Gibtelecom; IAM; Libyan Post, Telecom and Information Technology Company; MTN Group Ltd; Omantel; PT Comunicações, S.A.; Saudi Telecom Company; Telecom Egypt; Telkom SA Ltd; and Verizon Business.

In November of last year, Telecom Egypt entered into contracts totalling US$126 million in relation to TE Transit corridor and TE North with I-ME-WE, SEACOM and VSNL. This new engagement brings total value of contracts signed by TE in this relation to US$176 million.