We recently caught up with Mike Constable, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Marine Networks Ltd. His career spans more than 20 years in the submarine cable industry, having led the development and implementation of numerous cable systems throughout the globe with leading telecom operators such as Global Crossing Ltd and Pacnet Global Ltd but also with start-up ventures such as Pacific Fibre. Mike is also a well-known speaker and authority on strategic, commerical and regulatory aspects of submarine cable system development and deployment.
In this interview, Mike shares with us his observations on the current state of the industry and how he foresees the industry will develop in the next few years.
1. In one sentence, tell us how you would describe the state of the subsea communications industry today.
Buoyant. We are seeing an increase in investment over preceding years with 2018 alone, having over $2.7B worth of investment announced. This translates into an excess of 140,000km of cable to be deployed over the next few years; a significant increase over the past few years.
2. How do you see the industry evolving over the next 5 years?
I think the industry is at an inflection point of which we have not seen before with the majority of investment coming from content providers, primarily at the expense of the traditional telecom investment community. This trend is more advanced in the US and European markets, but will accelerate further into Latin America, Africa and the Asian region. The evolving data centre centric network topology and the unprecedented growth in machine to machine traffic is accelerating the demand for international bandwidth that requires new high-fibre count networks and advances in deployment of 400G and above systems. The global investor base will continue to evolve and embrace new content providers and possibly data centre investors themselves.
3. If you had to identify one key challenge that the industry is facing, what would it be? How can it be overcome?
I believe the industry is facing numerous challenges. From my perspective, the most significant challenge we all face is addressing the increased focus on cyber security from a new system design perspective. This will naturally translate to a focus on system maintenance. In parallel, as suppliers we are being challenged to deploy new low cost systems technologies to meet customer price points and address the balance of risk apportionment.
4. Why are you excited to be at Submarine Networks World 2018?
Huawei Marine is celebrating our 10th year and in that time has entered a conservative risk-adverse market, and have not only driven new innovation but have deployed in excess of 50,000km of new build systems in addition to numerous upgrades to successfully execute over 90 individual projects. With the participation of more than 600 industry stakeholders here, SNW is an ideal platform stage for us to share our knowledge, market insight, technological advances and exchange ideas to embrace the inherent change and challenges that lie ahead of us all.
5. What can the audience expect to learn from your presentation at this year’s conference?
HMN will share our thoughts what we are doing to support the current and foreseeable market trends, including development of new technologies, current projects and the key challenges facing the industry.
Mike Constable will be participating in the opening keynote panel “Looking towards the future of the subsea cable industry” on 25 September 2018, 0920-1020.
If you’d like to find out more, feel free to get in touch with the team:
To sponsor: Bastiaan van der Heijden
To speak: YunXuan (YX) Koh