Indian telecoms conglomerate Reliance Jio will build two submarine cables to help it satisfy the country’s appetite for data. One of the cables is called IEX, short for India-Europe-Express, and will head west from Mumbai and connect to the Middle East and North Africa before landfalling in Italy. The cable may push further into Europe and down into Eritrea on the African continent.
The second cable, IAX, short for “India Asia Express” will head east from Mumbai to Asia Pacific terminating in Singapore.
The cable will offer 200 Tetrabits per second over its 16,000 km length. IAX should be ready for service in mid 2023. IEX is expected to come on line in 2024.
Reliance Jio president Mathew Oommen said “We are taking a leadership role in the construction of the first of its kind, India-centric IAX and IEX subsea systems to meet the demands of streaming video, remote workforce, 5G, IoT and beyond.”
While India is not 5G capable the country has approved trials. With Covid ranging in the sub-continent the demand for home working is likely to increase with an increase in demand for improved data transfer speeds.
In a separate move, in recent trials for 5G India banned local companies from using Chinese-made kit.
India approved 5G tests with kit from Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, C-Dot, or Indian conglomerate Reliance Jio.
Wang Xiaojian, a counsellor at the Chinese embassy in India said: “Relevant Chinese companies have been operating in India for years, providing mass job opportunities and making contribution to India’s infrastructure construction in telecommunications.”
The move follows UK and US governments’ decision to halt the use of Chinese kit in their future 5G expansion plans.