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FALCON gives du international wings

The UAE's second operator has opened its landing station in Dubai that connects it to Flag Telecom's underwater FALCON network stretching across the Gulf.

The UAE’s second operator, du, has opened its landing station at Jebel Ali in Dubai connecting it to the undersea FALCON network stretching across the Gulf. The new high-capacity, multi-terabit cable system has landings throughout the region, from Egypt in the west to India in the east.

The FALCON cable system is owned and operated by FLAG Telecom, and will allow du to offer international calls and broadband connectivity without having to utilise the infrastructure of incumbent Etisalat.

Alcatel Submarine Networks has been building the cable system, and handing over segment by segment as installation is completed. Flag accepted handover of the segments from UAE to Oman and from UAE to Qatar in mid March 2006. The segment from Qatar to Bahrain is due to be handed over to operations team later this week. The network incorporates the Gulf region’s first self-healing submarine network ring, providing all connected countries with reliable, high quality connectivity. Following trials in Oman that started in April 2005, and a pact between Omantel and Flag, Muscat became the hub city for FALCON.

du has made a multi-million investment in the cable system, and joins other operators in Bahrain, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar and Sudan as landing parties and customers. Interestingly, du’s competitor in the UAE, Etisalat, is a 40% stakeholder in Kanar Telecommunications, Sudan’s second fixed-line operator which is providing FALCON’s first East African landing station based at Port Sudan. Once Kanar is operational, Etisalat will manage, operate and maintain the network.

The system has been designed so that further landings can be added in the Middle East and East Africa as demand arises.

During the opening ceremony, du CEO Osman Sultan made a calls using the new system to B D Khurana, group president of Reliance Infocomm in Mumbai.

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