Reliance Communications’ owned Flag Telecom and Sri Lankan telecommunications company Lanka Bell are likely to enter into a pact to extend the Flag Telecom network to Sri Lanka and thereafter to Maldives.
The two companies are likely to enter into a pact on Wednesday, December 6, said Flag sources. The cost of the laying the cable is likely to be $25 million and this will be the second undersea cable between India and Sri Lanka. Already, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has tied up with the state-owned Sri Lanka Telecom for laying an under sea cable.
When contacted, a Reliance Communications spokesperson refused to confirm or deny the specific deal but said that countries like Maldives and Sri Lanka offered immense potential for growth.
He added: “We seek to connect developed and emerging economies across the globe. We will leverage the launch of the Falcon Cable System, which connects 11 countries in the Middle East. We will continue to provide international bandwidth to underserved geographies and connect them with rest of the world.”
Currently, Sri Lanka Telecom routes all its international traffic through the under-sea cable link with SEA-ME-WEA (South East Asia, Middle East and Western Europe) consortium. Another privately owned company Dialog Telekom routes its international traffic through its parent company Telekom Malaysia’s network. The link with Flag will enable Lanka Bell to foray into international telephony.
Lanka Bell handles a lot of traffic from west Asian countries to Sri Lanka. In November, it announced a tie-up with Trico Maritime (Pvt) Ltd whereby Sri Lankans working in west Asian countries will be able to pay in those countries to provide a phone to their relatives in Sri Lanka.
There are more than three lakh Sri Lankans in west Asian countries and this will target that population. This deal between Flag and Bell Lanka is an ideal solution where Bell Lanka expects to handle a lot of traffic from there.
Flag has a Falcon cable system connecting the west Asian countries to the Flag network and India. This connectivity will be used to carry Lanka Bell traffic to those countries.