Fintech Ecosystems Middle East & Africa Trending

Beyon Joins the SEA-ME-WE 6 Consortium as it Invests More Than $250million in Digital Infrastructure

Beyon, the parent company for Batelco, the Beyon digital companies and Batelco’s international operations, has announced a major investment of more than $250million in digital infrastructure. This will help support the acceleration of Bahrain’s digital transformation and the growth of the country’s digital economy. The news was announced in a press conference attended by Beyon chairman, Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

The Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) general director, Phillip Marnick and SEA-ME-WE 6 management committee chairperson, Yue Meng Fai were also in attendance at the event, which took place at Centraal, Beyon Campus, Hamala, Kingdom of Bahrain on May 16th, 2023.

During the event, Beyon CEO, Mikkel Vinter announced that Batelco, part of the Beyon group, has joined the SEA-ME-WE 6 (Southeast Asia – Middle East – Western Europe) consortium. SEA-ME-WE 6 is currently building a 21,700 km-long undersea telecommunications cable system connecting Bahrain with 14 other countries.

Additionally, Batelco is investing to build a regional subsea cable, the ‘Al Khaleej’ Cable which the company will fully own. It will enhance the region’s data exchange. Beyon’s CEO also announced Data Oasis, which will be a technology hub in the Kingdom of Bahrain and include a newly built advanced data centre for the company.

SEA-ME-WE 6 Superhighway Connecting the Middle East to Southeast Asia and Western Europe

The SEA-ME-WE 6 cable system, offering one of the lowest latencies available between the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Western Europe will significantly boost Beyon’s global network infrastructure. SEA-ME-WE 6 will have the capability of transferring more than 100 terabits per second. The new subsea cable will create a layer of network diversity and resilience for the heavily used routes. Especially those connecting the Middle East towards Europe and Asia.

Al Khaleej Cable, the company’s fully owned subsea cable

Batelco is also investing in the Al Khaleej Subsea Cable, to extend from Bahrain to other regional countries including Oman, UAE and Qatar. This fully owned subsea cable will help to diversify routes and augment international connectivity for the region.

Beyon data oasis announced incorporating advanced data centre

Another major initiative supporting the ever-growing data movement was also announced. Beyon is developing a data centre that will be located within Beyon Data Oasis. It is being developed on a 140K Sq. Mts. site located in the south of Bahrain.

Beyon Data Oasis will incorporate the SEA-ME-WE 6 and the Al Khaleej cables into the data centre. It will therefore enable hyperscalers and businesses to access integrated solutions. Additionally, it will help strengthen Bahrain’s position as a leading regional technology hub.

Furthermore, the new data centre will feature multiple megawatt power capacity and utilise clean power technologies provided by the company’s solar park, aligning with its sustainability plans to increase alternative power sources.

Beyon chairman, Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa praised the major announcements that were made. He notes that a robust connectivity infrastructure is central to the growth of the digital economy and that these major initiatives will support the acceleration of the digital future for Bahrain in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Supporting connectivity in the region

Beyon CEO, Mikkel Vinter said: “Beyon is delighted to join hands with other leading international communication companies and join the SEA-ME-WE 6 cable consortium which will support and strengthen connectivity in the region.”

“We are also pleased to reaffirm our commitment to building state-of-the-art facilities that help to attract global tech companies plus leading local and regional companies, by building Beyon’s new Data Centre, which will be the biggest in Bahrain.

“Our significant investment, the biggest of its kind in Bahrain’s history, reflects the immense importance we place on meeting the requirements of the business industry. It also shows our commitment to supporting the growth of Bahrain’s digital ecosystem,” he added.

The TRA general director Phillip Marnick who attended the event said: “This is a very important announcement that will have a significant impact on the development of a robust digital connectivity infrastructure for the Kingdom of Bahrain.

“The deployment of advanced technologies for citizens, residents, and businesses gives them access to the latest communication solutions, and also further enhances Bahrain’s position as a leading digital hub.”

Adding to a global network

SEA-ME-WE 6 Management Committee chairperson Yue Meng Fai said: “We are very happy to welcome Batelco to the consortium, which will directly connect Bahrain to the cable and enhance the overall coverage of the SEA-ME-WE 6.”

“With millions of people living and working remotely today, this new cable system will support all partners to provide superior broadband access along this multi-regional data superhighway, enabling them to meet and exceed capacity demands of their customers. By building more capacity and flexibility we are ensuring readiness for future needs.”

In addition to Beyon in Bahrain, the SMW6 consortium includes its sister company Dhiraagu in the Maldives. It also includes:

  • Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company
  • Bharti Airtel (India)
  • China Unicom, Djibouti Telecom, Mobily (Saudi Arabia)
  • Orange (France)
  • Singtel (Singapore)
  • Sri Lanka Telecom
  • Telecom Egypt
  • TM ( Malaysia)
  • Telin (Indonesia)
  • Trans World Associates (Pakistan)

The SEA-ME-WE 6 submarine cable connectivity to Bahrain and Al Khaleej Cable are expected to be completed by Q2 2026.

Author

  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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