CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

5 December 2012

Kenya: Orange to the Rescue As Teams Suffers Two More Cuts

The East African Marine System (TEAMS), which has experienced two significant cuts in a span of less than 2 months along the Indian Ocean coastline, will be repaired by Orange. The decision was reached after a Memorandum of Understanding agreed upon by members of the TEAMS consortium.

France Telecom Marine, a division of France Telecom - Orange, specialises in the laying and maintenance of sub-marine cables globally and owns 15 per cent of cable ship fleet worldwide and has operations across the world, as well more than 40,000 kilometres of submarine cable, making it one of the largest players globally.

According to the CEO of Telkom Kenya - Orange, Mickael Ghossein, France Telecom Marine is currently undertaking repair work to restore the operations of the cable and is expected to complete these repairs in 4 days.

"France Telecom Marine sent one of its ships that had docked in Madagascar to Mombasa last week. This has significantly reduced the repair time of the cable by half as opposed to the four weeks that an alternate repair ship would have taken to come and repair the cable. The France Telecom Marine ship docked in Mombasa on the afternoon of May 12 and proceeded to the repair site after inward clearance," said Ghossein.

"France Telecom Marine should complete the repairs on the cable by Friday, May 18 thereby bringing TEAMS operations back to normal," added Ghossein.

Apart from repair and maintenance work, France Telecom Marine is also involved in other areas of fibre optic cable deployment, including the study (survey) and shore ends. The firm's recent projects in the continent include the laying and maintenance of cables in West Africa in Senegal, Cameroon, Benin, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as in East Africa, Reunion Island, Madagascar and Mauritius among other countries. FT Marine was also involved in the deployment of the recently-completed LION II cable system that is now set for commercial use in the region.

France Telecom Marine is repairing the TEAMS cable, using the LION II's spare sub-marine cables by replacing a full section at each repair section.

The TEAMS' cable, which is a 5,000 kilometre fibre optic system, links the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa with Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and also connects other East African countries to international communications networks.

The TEAMS cable, in which Telkom Kenya - Orange is a significant shareholder, is a joint venture by a consortium consisting of the Kenya government and other telecoms operators - who hold 85 percent - and UAE-based mobile operator, Etisalat with 15 percent.

The Kenyan government invested KSh 8.6 billion in the TEAMS project with the Dubai-based consortium putting in an additional KSh. 1.5 billion.

Shares allocated to each local operator represent a pro-rata cost of the construction of the cable. Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) laid the cable, sponsored by the Kenyan government and private telecom companies.

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