Telecoms firms Batelco and e& have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to land the Al Khaleej subsea cable system in the UAE.

Announced on February 14, the agreement will see the 1,400km-long cable connecting the UAE to Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar.

Batelco's Bahrain data center – Batelco

Batelco is the sole owner of the Al Khaleej cable, which branches off of the SEA-ME-WE 6 cable, a 21,700km long cable system that connects Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe. Batelco, through the Beyon Group, is an investor in the SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium, having joined in 2023.

The Al Khaleej branch was announced at the same time, along with Batelco's plans to develop Data Oasis, a technology hub that would feature a 140,000 sqm (1.5m sq ft) data center in the south of Bahrain which would house both cable systems.

The Al Khaleej cable is expected to be in service by Q2 2026, and is being manufactured and installed by SubCom. The cable will feature 10 fiber pairs with 12.6Tbps of capacity per pair.

Nabil Baccouche, group chief carrier & wholesale officer, e&, said: “We are extremely delighted to cooperate with Batelco as the exclusive landing party for the Al Khaleej cable in the UAE. Our expertise over the past decades in landing over 20 submarine cables will certainly provide timely deployment of world-class infrastructure as part of this strategic partnership.”

“The integration of the new submarine cable Al Khaleej into the UAE, extending its reach to Bahrain and the GCC, marks a ground-breaking milestone in the region’s telecommunications infrastructure. This new development enhances much-needed subsea diversification of routes, paving the way for unparalleled international connectivity into the heart of the Middle East.”

Where the cable will land with e& has not been shared. The company has eleven data centers in three major cities across the UAE in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Al Ain. The company has an existing cable landing station in Fujairah. Earlier this month, however, it was revealed that the 2Africa cable would be landing in Kalba in the North-eastern part of the UAE.

Around 20 subsea cable systems land in the UAE and the majority of those are managed by e&. Those cables include the 2Africa, Africa-1, Asia Africa Europe-1, Bay of Bengal Gateway, Europe India Gateway, Falcon, Fiber Optic Gult, FLAG Europe-Asia, Gulf Bridge International Cable System, GBICS/MENA, IMEWE, Qatar-UAE, Sea-ME-WE-3,4,5 and soon 6, Sir Abu Nu'ayr Cable, Tata TGN-Gulf, The East African Marine System, Transworld, and UAE-Iran. The majority of those cables land in Fujairah.