France Telecom Orange (www.orange-ftgroup.com) is making a heavy play into the submarine cable business. It has acquired Elettra, Telecom Italia’s submarine cable business and earlier this month announced an agreement for a new undersea cable in the Indian Ocean.
With Elettra, France Telecom will get two cable ships along with 100 percent of the Telecom Italia group. France Telecom Marine currently operates a fleet of four (4) cable laying ships and there aren’t a whole lot of the specialized vessels around the world, so this is truly a Big Deal in the infrastructure world. Elettra is valued at 20 million euros, FYI.
France Telecom now has stronger assets to service telecommunications operators in Europe, the Mediterranean basin and around Africa – perhaps one of the more strategic parts of this deal.
FT-Orange now operates in close to 20 countries in Africa and announced a deal as a part of the LION2 consortium to build a new submarine cable in the Indian ocean, running a 3,000 kilometer long cable from Kenya to the island of Mayotte and then linking to Madagascar, ending up in diverse routing for calls and data across Europe, Africa, and Asia, if you look at illustration below from FT-Orange
LION2 uses WDM and has a maximum potential capacity of 1.28 Tbps.