Infrastructure Chinese telco enters Gulf with Zain Omantel tie-up By Sarah Townsend July 12, 2023 ZOI ZOI and China Telecom Global representatives celebrate the deal China Telecom Global debuts in region with connectivity agreement ZOI deal aims for high-capacity data network across China and GCC Plan touted as ‘digital gateway’ for Chinese businesses One of China’s biggest wireless mobile network operators will make its GCC debut through a connectivity agreement with Zain Omantel International. State-owned China Telecom Global (CTG) signed the deal with Zain Omantel International (ZOI), a joint venture formed in May by Kuwait’s Zain Group and Oman’s Omantel. Omantel to invest $1.6bn from towers spinoff in growth projects Ooredoo’s PIF deal is the latest in the ‘big telco tower sell-off’ Gulf telcos nurse FX losses as foreign expansion sours The deal with CTG is a “strategic subsea capacity and connectivity” agreement, aiming to deliver high-capacity data connectivity across China, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Sudan and South Sudan. The agreement will grow both parties’ market presence in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions, they added. No details on timings or deal value were disclosed. ZOI’s partners and clients include international mobile carriers, data centres, content providers and cloud providers, seeking end-to-end telecommunications services in the region and globally. “This partnership strengthens our position as the global wholesale powerhouse connecting all Middle Eastern countries to an extensive international network,” said ZOI’s CEO Sohail Qadir. Faming Lu, vice-president of CTG, added that the deal “will serve as a digital gateway for Chinese businesses seeking to establish their operations in the Middle East market.” The deal is not China’s first Middle East telecoms foray. In April, Reuters reported that China’s three main carriers were mapping out what would be one of the world’s biggest and most advanced subsea cable networks, linking Asia, the Middle East and Europe.