Telekom Malaysia (TM) announced that it is part of a consortium for the new Southeast Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 6 (SEA-ME-WE 6 or SMW6) submarine cable system, that connects Malaysia with multiple countries namely Singapore, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Oman, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France.
The largest fixed broadband operator in the country did not reveal the value of its investment. However according to experts, the cost of the entire SEA-ME-WE 6 submarine cable system is approximately over US$500 million (estimated RM2.09 billion).
Led by Singapore-based Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel), the SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium comprise multiple global players at 12 location, including Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Bharti Airtel), Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun PLC (Dhiraagu), Djibouti Telecom SA (Djibouti Telecom), Etihad Etisalat Company (Mobily), Orange (France), PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT), Telecom Egypt (TE), Trans World Associates (TWA) and Telekom Malaysia (TM).
SEA-ME-WE 6 system will span roughly 19,200km between Singapore and France. It will not only be the largest of the SEA-ME-WE series but will contain more fibre pairs and more than double the capacity of its smaller sister cables. SEA-ME-WE 6 will be able to transfer more than 100 terabytes of date per second, equivalent to roughly 40,000 high-definition videos per second.
TM did not say in its press statement if its unifi broadband customers would benefit from this investment. The system is expected to be ready for service by the first quarter of 2025.
At the moment, TM is already connected to SEA-ME-WE 3, SEAME-WE 4, SEA-ME-WE 5 among 30 submarine cable systems owned and leased spanning more than 320,000 kilometres around the globe.
The new SEA-ME-WE 6 submarine cable system will provide TM with one of the lowest latency routes between Malaysia and Europe, it claims. It will also create an additional layer of network diversity and resilience for the heavily loaded traffic between Asia and Europe.
The SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium has awarded the supply and installation contract to United States-based SubCom [PDF]. The leading submarine cable contrator said it will utilize SL17-SDM cable, supporting up to 24 fiber pairs (FP). Production of the cable and equipment will take place at SubCom’s manufacturing campus in Newington, New Hampshire (NH), USA.
Commenting on the latest investment, TM Group Chief Executive Officer Imri Mokhtar said, “TM has always been at the forefront in making Malaysia the ideal gateway for connecting our country to the world, as well as enabling global technology players to deliver innovative digital services to Malaysia. Submarine cable expansion remains a key element in achieving this goal.
“Our investment in SEA-ME-WE 6 will allow us to address our capacity requirements to cater for increasing future digital demand across Asia and Europe while continuing to provide reliable, diversified and uninterrupted global connectivity solutions to customers. It will also allow TM to support the deployment of hyperscalers’ data centres as well as the future requirements of 5G network in the country.”
“The SEA-ME-WE 6 submarine cable will land at TM’s new cable landing station in Morib, the latest addition to TM’s existing four (4) international cable landing stations in the country. Its strategic proximity to Klang Valley, which is close to most hyperscalers’ data centres, positions it as a key cable landing site for Malaysia.”