SMW 5: Second cable for Bangladesh and Myanmar

Posted on March 7, 2014  /  2 Comments

Bangladesh and Myanmar have joined an international consortium, which has signed an agreement today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to build the South East Asia – Middle East -Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) cable. Once activates in early 2016, the cable will be literally a lifeline for Myanmar’s international connectivity. The country now survives on the first generation undersea optical fiber (SEA-ME-WE 3), which suffers from frequent outage.

The SEA-ME-WE 5 cable will also bolster the international connectivity of Bangladesh, as the country is only plugged with the SEA-ME-WE 4 undersea cable system. The six terrestrial operators of Bangladesh have been saving the country from fragility like Myanmar. The second landing station of SEA-ME-WE 5 will also add route-diversity to Bangladesh.

Spanning approximately 20,000km, SEA-ME-WE 5 is designed to connect 17 countries, with points-of-presence (POPs) spanning Singapore, South Asia, the Middle East, France and Italy. It is designed to provide upgradable transmission facilities via 100Gbps technology. Once fully loaded, it will be capable of carrying 24,000Gbps of capacity, which is the equivalent of transmitting about 4,800 high-definition movies per second.

The following companies have been named as members of the SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium: Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), China Mobile International Limited (CMI), China Telecommunications Global Limited (CTG), China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (CU), Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (PJSC), Orange Group, Myanmar Post and Telecom (MPT), PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), Telekom Malaysia (TM), Telecom Italia Sparkle (TIS), TOT and TeleYemen.

This is the first time the Chinese carriers have joined the SEA-ME-WE club. In fact, all the three Chinese telecom majors’ presence in this consortium sends a strong message to the global carriers. NEC will be deploying the segment spanning from Singapore to Sri Lanka, while Alcatel-Lucent will be deploying the Sri Lanka to France segments. Cost of the project remains undisclosed as yet. Press release of NEC contains the cable’s route map while the announcement of Alcatel-Lucent links numbers of impressive animation on undersea cables. Bon Voyage SEA-ME-WE 5!


  1. Bon Voyage SEA-ME-WE 5!

    Abu, excellent article. And a comment, this is not the first time the Chinese carriers have joined the SEA-ME-WE club. China Telecom joined SEA-ME-WE 3 in 1997 and contributed a landing station in Shantou. And now, both China Telecom and China Unicom are members of the SMW3 consortium.

  2. Hi Winston, thanks for pointing it out. By the way, I believe due to the latest technology, there will be no bulky conventional CLS in SMW5. What do you think?