Press release: Viva and BT launch Global IP Exchange interoperability hub in the Kingdom of Bahrain

DC15-217 (31 May 2015)

Bahrain is the first nation to host a hub providing global IP connectivity to all operators in the Gulf region and Middle East.

VIVA Bahrain, the Kingdom’s leading telecommunications services provider, and BT, one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, today announced the launch of Bahrain’s Global IP Exchange (GIPX) interoperability hub.

With the launch of the GIPX hub, VIVA Bahrain delivers hosting and connectivity, whilst providing a new route to market for BT's Global IP Exchange voice and interoperability services in the region. It will also enable BT to extend its Global IP Exchange footprint to the Middle East.

The new GIPX hub is expected to be of particular interest to mobile and fixed service providers across countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt who need to terminate international voice traffic to other countries.

By using the GIPX hub, those operators benefit from convenient, simplified and seamless access, enabling them to provide their end customers with fully interoperable services and innovative products. The hub unlocks significant pull-through business for mobile roaming, Wi-Fi roaming and other future IP Exchange propositions.

VIVA CEO Ulaiyan Al Wetaid, H.E Eng. Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed Minister of Transportation  Telecommunications and  Wael El Kabbany Managing Director BT Global Services in Middle East and North Africa

His Excellency, Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, said: “Bahrain is the first nation to host a hub providing global IP connectivity to all operators in the Gulf region and Middle East. This launch makes our Kingdom a regional leader in the telecommunications industry and underlines our Government’s commitment to building a strong knowledge-based economy. We are convinced that cost effectiveness and faster connectivity will also reinforce Bahrain’s position as an attractive business friendly environment.”

Ulaiyan Al Wetaid, CEO of VIVA Bahrain, stated: “The regional GIPX hub we are launching today connects Gulf and the Middle East operators to BT’s best-in-class global IP backbone. The hub is close to the source of traffic making it quick, easy and cost effective for telecom operators to connect, while offering them the opportunity to develop innovative new services. End users in the Middle East and beyond will benefit from more choice, better service and higher quality communications. For consumers, applications such as HD voice, video calling, and Wi-Fi roaming and 4G-roaming will become easier to access and less expensive than they are today.”

Wael El-Kabbany, managing director, Middle East and North Africa, BT Global Services, said: “We are delighted to launch our new Middle East Global IP Exchange interoperability hub in Bahrain together with VIVA Bahrain, exactly one year after first announcing our partnership. We have worked together with VIVA for more than five years and share the same outlook on leadership, dynamism, innovation and how the creative use of technology can help deliver a great performance. The hub enables access to BT’s global platform with VIVA’s regional expertise. It will help further develop a new ICT ecosystem and encourage global players to drive new ICT services, in addition to offering the latest technology services to the home market. It is also a key building block in the execution of our strategy aiming at rolling out a fully federated Global IP Exchange infrastructure around the world.”

BT IP Exchange is an interoperability service that enables fixed, mobile, legacy and next-generation networks to interconnect in a way that minimizes the cost and technical burden of protocol conversion. Specially developed to meet the growing need for connectivity between Voice-over-IP operators, traditional communications providers, and converged service providers, BT IP Exchange provides essential interworking between the various communications technologies currently used by businesses and consumers around the world.

About VIVA Bahrain

VIVA Bahrain is a fully owned subsidiary of the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) and launched its commercial services in March 2010 with the aim of transforming the telecommunications landscape in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Backed by unrivalled experience, knowledge and vision, VIVA boasts one of the largest and most diversified sales and payment networks of customer touch points in Bahrain. This includes a comprehensive retail network, a user-friendly web portal, 23 retail outlets and over 400 payment channels in addition to its products and services through a distribution channel with over 3,400 outlets spread across the country.

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About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

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For further information

Alan Ball, Head of Global PR and Suzanne Masterton, Head of UK PR