Equinix, Inc., the global interconnection and data center company, and Oman Telecommunications Company, have entered into a joint venture to deliver data center and interconnection services to customers in the Middle East through the development of a new network-dense data center that will be located in Barka, near Muscat, the capital of Oman.
This joint venture will establish the first world-class, carrier-neutral hub in Oman where carriers, content providers and cloud providers colocate critical IT infrastructure.
Oman is strategically positioned between Asia, Africa and Europe, and the new Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center will create a regional interconnection hub with ultra-low latencies between global business markets. Based on demand and requirements, customers in the GCC and wider MENA region can also leverage other Equinix data centers in the region for dual access to content providers, allowing carriers, content providers and cloud providers to further build resilience in designing their IT and network infrastructure.
The new IBX data center in Oman will benefit from connectivity to strategic cable landing stations (CLS) and subsea cable systems that terminate directly inside the facility. It will also benefit from the investments by Omantel in multiple strategic subsea cable systems throughout the region and world. This subsea cable connectivity will provide customers with significant cost savings and an increase in performance and security.
Under the terms of the agreement, Equinix and Omantel will both fund equity contributions in an amount of US$10 million for the joint venture representing a 50% shareholding each, and additional funds will be raised through debt financing assumed by the joint venture company. The shareholders’ agreement was signed on June 20, 2018, and the joint venture company was established on June 26, 2018.
Equinix will operate the new IBX data center, which will include 18,600 square feet of colocation space and approximately 750 cabinets at full build. The first phase of the three-phase build will include 250 cabinets and is expected to be completed and open for business by Q2 2019.
According to the recently published document Worldwide Datacenter Installation Census and Construction Forecast, 2018–2022, IDC observes a clear trend of movement of internal data centers to service provider data centers.
With more than 200 data centers worldwide, Platform Equinix™ enables customers to easily interconnect with one another in business ecosystems for maximum collaboration across digital supply chains in 52 markets globally. Additionally, 30 Equinix metros are close enough to the shorelines to support the CLS model.
Omantel is a global communications provider with cable landings and connectivity to more than 120 cities globally. It has investments in 20 subsea cable systems and leverages six diverse landing stations in Oman and one in France.
Additionally, Omantel is an investor in AAE-1 consortium, one of the largest, newest high-capacity connections between Asia, Africa and Europe. Omantel has also invested in multiple regional and international cables including Europe India Gateway (EIG), Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG), Gulf to Africa (G2A), and Silk Route Gateway-1 (SRG-1), among others. As a result, Omantel will be able to offer a redundant and unique latency of 160ms between Frankfurt and Singapore, two of the world’s main capacity hubs accessible directly from within the new IBX data center in Oman.
Talal Al Mamari, CEO, Omantel, explained, “We are excited to work with Equinix on this project and accelerate how users experience cloud, content and next-gen communications. Today, data center infrastructure sits at the heart of global ICT and enables all of us to enjoy the cloud-based apps and services we use every day. The planned IBX data center with Equinix in Oman represents a massive step forward for Oman and the Middle Eastern ICT markets. Working on this project will allow both companies to bring together their strong assets and enable a new era of telecommunications both locally and globally. Such partnership will further enhance Oman’s competitiveness in the global digital economy and trade.”
Eric Schwartz, President, EMEA, Equinix, said, “We see significant potential for Oman as a market generally and, in particular, supporting CLS requirements as subsea cable momentum accelerates. It’s all about meeting the growing need for interconnection – private data exchange between businesses. In the digital age, companies need to reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything, and they need to do it out at the digital edge, where commerce, population centers and digital ecosystems meet. Our joint venture with Omantel will do exactly that.”