Every industry needs its market disruptors, and that of submarine cables is no different. In this case it is Zenzu Submarine who bring to the table a new and very interesting proposition for how cable projects of the future may be
coordinated and managed. Zenzu, headed up by the former Googler, Erikas Napjus, present themselves as pioneers of a new business model they call the Condo-Tenant model.
This is a very bottom-up approach in which they take no ownership of the cable infrastructure, but instead convene and coordinate all other interested parties. So, they might decide on a potential route and then scout out all the various parties (or tenants) who may be interested to jump on board, bring them together and help to forge a deal in which members take a stake. For this they charge cost price (for the length of cable which is utilized), plus 10% as their fee.
Erikas and the Zenzu team, many of whom hail from the OTT world, don’t necessarily see themselves as entirely replacing the current model of building the infrastructure and then selling off bandwidth to third parties. But they feel the compelling advantages to the Condo-Tenant model, which include reduced costs and speedier negotiation processes, mean that it should become a force to be reckoned with.
At present the team have four projects under review: Artimon (extending from the North Eastern Seaboard of the US to Denmark with further potential branches to Iceland, Ireland, the UK, Netherlands and Norway) is the most advanced of the four projects, and is anticipated to be completed sometime in 2020.
Benguela is a cable proposed to extend from London to Cape Town with an array of branches to the countries of the West Coast of Africa and the Mediterranean. Challenger is a project planned to extend from Los Angeles to Valparaiso in Chile in the West with an eastern branch covering points along the east cost of Central America, up to the US. Lastly, Discovery, arguably the most ambitious project, would link Marseilles with Mumbai, with a further branch reaching down to Singapore.
It will be exciting to see what kind of impact Zenzu make in the world of submarine cables.
Certainly, they are gaining widespread interest from the OTTs and telcos. If these four projects do come to fruition, few will be able to argue against the new model. The question then will be, how will the rest of the market respond?
This article is part of a series of 15 interviews with leading cable project owners around the world, which we’ve compiled into the ebook “Submarine Networks Projects 2017”. Download a free copy of it here.
If you’d like to meet these cable owners and operators together with other leaders from the industry, you should join us at Submarine Networks World 2018, which takes place 24 – 26 September in Singapore. Firmly established as the must-attend annual meeting for industry players from all around the world, preparations are already underway for another year of inspiring ideas, extensive networking and lively debates, with a conference programme covering key industry issues ranging from New Demand Drivers to Marine Operations, as well as a brand new Innovation Zone featuring presentations on the latest R&D projects.
Keen to learn more? Get in touch with the team: