Gulf Bridge International (GBI), the Middle East’s first privately owned submarine cable operator, and Qtel, one of the region’s leading telecommunications companies, today concluded an agreement that will see Qtel provide a landing station for GBI’s cable in Qatar. Senior executives from both companies were on hand at the signing of the Landing Party Agreement (LPA) between GBI and Qtel. The LPA will enable GBI to land a connection in Qatar to the GBI Cable System, which will connect all the countries of the Gulf region to each other and provide onward connectivity to Europe and Asia. The people of the region will benefit significantly from the greater choice, value, diversity and resilience delivered through this network, which will improve connectivity and provided the foundations for the introduction of next generation communication technology. Qtel’s support for the GBI global Cable System will play a role in the company’s strategy to connect Qatar with the world.Dr. Nasser Marafih, Chief Executive Officer, Qtel, said: “By connecting Qatar to this new global Cable System, we are layering an additional level of resilience to the existing infrastructure to enable and maintain seamless and un-interrupted communication across the world. Additionally, the superior capacity provided by this new partnership is a big step towards realizing our vision to make Qatar one of the best connected countries in the world.” “I am especially pleased that Qtel will provide a landing station for GBI in Qatar. As one of the Gulf’s most successful telecom operators, with operations spanning across North Africa, the Middle East, the Asian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, Qtel will be a significant partner for GBI as we build our network around the Gulf,” commented Mr. Ahmed Mekky, Board Member and CEO of GBI. “Today’s agreement takes GBI one step closer to being the carrier’s carrier of choice for regional and international traffic.” “The Government of Qatar’s forward-looking initiatives to broaden and diversify Qatar’s business base have undoubtedly generated increased demand for international capacity,” said Mr. Hamad Al-Mannai, Executive Vice Chairman of GBI. “Today’s agreement with Qtel will enable GBI to expand its reach further as the most comprehensive cable operator in the Middle East. Our partnership will allow Qtel to offer the customers even more diversity and resilience and will give Qatar infrastructure required to attract additional foreign investment”. Scheduled to launch in 2011 and designed to operate for up to 25 years, the GBI Cable System will connect all the Gulf countries via a core ring, which can re-route traffic thereby increasing resilience. With a design capacity of up to five terabits per second on certain cable sections, the GBI Cable System will have the capability to meet the rapid growth in demand that has been forecast for traffic originating and terminating in the Gulf.