Indian international long-distance operators Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) and Bharti Tele-Ventures are awaiting security clearance from the government to launch the Indian section of the SEA-ME-WE-4 (SMW-4) submarine cable. Both telcos have invested around USD40 million in the Europe-to-Asia cable system, which has been built by a consortium of over 15 companies led by France Télécom. SMW-4 can carry up to 20 million voice calls simultaneously and, when lit, will propel India into the league of bandwidth-surplus countries.
Meanwhile, rival international operator Reliance Infocomm is in talks with Chinese incumbent China Telecom to carry its inbound and outbound Indian traffic. Traffic between India and China is currently routed via international nodes in the United States and Europe; prices for calls between the two countries for Reliance customers could drop by as much as 55% if the deal goes ahead. The Indian telco controls a 50,000km undersea cable network linking the US, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Last month, work was completed on the FALCON cable link stretching from Oman in the Middle East to Reliance’s landing station on India’s west coast.