The Business Year

Cengiz Oztelcan CEO, Gulf Bridge International (GBI)

QATAR - Telecoms & IT

Cengiz Oztelcan

CEO, Gulf Bridge International (GBI)

Bio

Cengiz Oztelcan has over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, business, and corporate development areas in telecommunications and IT sectors, building and managing large, diverse and geographically dispersed organizations. He has held a variety of senior management roles for multinational companies such as Boeing, Intel, and Turk Telekom. He holds a BSc and MSc in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and an executive MBA from the University of Washington.

GBI seeks to provide the highest-quality, fastest, and most secure connection in Qatar, enabling the country to become both a connectivity and a digital hub.
How would you assess the growth of ICT in Qatar as the country prepares to host the largest football event in the world?

The growth of the ICT sector in Qatar can be assessed by adopting the right outlook as encompassed in Vision 2030. A large step on this journey is Qatar’s digital transformation ambitions. A digitalized nation attracts major global players and passes on the efficiencies of the digital transformation to its citizens and businesses. As a result of this spending growth and other major developments, Qatar has passed significant milestones, and the FIFA World Cup 2022 is one of them. This global event will serve to showcase to the rest of the world how far Qatar has progressed on many fronts, including but not limited to technology infrastructure and seamless execution.

What is GBI’s contribution to Qatar ranking among the most technologically advanced economies in the run-up to hosting the World Cup?

GBI and similar companies are the unseen heroes of the telecommunications era that we are currently witnessing. GBI’s role in the telecommunications era specifically as it relates to Qatar can be summarized at the highest level as providing the backbone to Qatar’s internet. Today more than 95% of the internet operates on more than 400 submarine cables globally. This connectivity enables the data to travel across the continent in a few milliseconds to reach you, the end-users of the internet. GBI seeks to provide the highest quality, fastest, and most secure connection, on its own international network. While end-users want the fastest uninterrupted connectivity, enterprises also look for security and availability. There is profound digital transformation occurring that spans the cloud, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and smart cities. The underlining fact is all new technologies and digital transformation can only be enabled through solid connectivity, reliability, and redundancy. That’s where GBI comes in. In this context, GBI is proud to have become the ultimate international subsea cable operator with global reach. Any person who attends the World Cup in Qatar or the billion who will experience it online will get to know Qatar, a small but hugely ambitious country with a highly developed digital infrastructure. They will witness all the products and the fruits of long-term planning, hard work and execution.

How would you assess the expansion of GBI’s Smart Network and what are your plans for expansion?

Our goal is to make Qatar an attractive commercial destination and to build a solid infrastructure enabling the country to become both a connectivity and digital hub. This involves the large cloud companies, the hyper-scalers, and the big internet content players hosting their services in Qatar. As it currently stands, the GBI Smart Network spans from Europe to Asia, connecting the East to the West through the Gulf region effectively. For economies of scale, we intend to extend this footprint to newly developing regions, such as those in East Africa. We are keen to assist with the early digital transformation in Africa by increasing internet and connectivity access. As the world undergoes this digital transformation, we are seeing the emergence of new connectivity hubs. GBI will continue to follow this trend closely, and as these connectivity hubs become more established, one of our key goals is to ensure that our network provides the necessary connectivity.

What are GBI’s key priorities for 2022?

In 2022, GBI aims to add to the efforts of Qatar to successfully execute this significant global event, which will demand a robust infrastructure. Billions of people will tune in and watch the matches in Qatar’s stadiums. This massive project cannot afford any hiccups, or even the slightest broadcast error or delay. So, currently, GBI’s work is underway with the authorities and broadcasters to ensure that we are technically aligned and everything is in place. People who do not make the journey to Qatar will nonetheless enjoy a marvelous World Cup experience from the convenience of their homes.

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