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QATAR - Telecoms & IT

Cengiz Oztelcan

CEO, Gulf Bridge International (GBI)


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.

"With a state-of-the-art international fiber-optic network of its own, GBI delivers low-latency, secure, and ultra-reliable connectivity to Qatar."
GBI plays a crucial role in the Middle East’s digital transformation by providing always-on, secure, and high-quality connectivity in Qatar and the region.
GBI is one of the few privately owned submarine cable companies. How does the industry lead digital transformation of customers in the region?

The Middle East is a thriving economy. Many think it is an emerging market; however, for those in it, it is more obvious that the market has already emerged. The enterprises, as well as the end users, are tech-savvy, connectivity-hungry, and internet-oriented, meaning the companies that serve them need to provide services and experiences that match their digital expectations. Digital infrastructure is a major building block in enabling digital transformation because of the need for the rapid and reliable flow of data domestically and, more importantly, internationally. This requirement makes submarine cables a critical component of the region’s current and future digital transformation by ensuring continuous connectivity to the major data hubs worldwide.

What specific challenges or issues is GBI currently addressing in Qatar, and how does the company strategize to overcome these challenges?

Today, businesses and consumers demand always-on, seamless, high-quality, and reliable connectivity. With a state-of-the-art international fiber optic network of its own, GBI delivers low-latency, secure, and ultra-reliable connectivity to Qatar via multiple routes in and out of the country. Additionally, due to the surge in data consumption and the need to store data locally and close to end-users, there is a boom in global demand for data center services. At GBI, we aim not only to provide the most reliable, secure, and fast data connectivity solutions but also to offer redundant data center services, particularly for global AI, cloud, and content players, to receive a first-class experience in Qatar. To achieve this goal, we also collaborate with multiple partners to bring the most innovative solutions to the market.

Qatar aims to establish an advanced society by 2030 as part of its National Vision. How would you evaluate GBI’s contribution to achieving this ambitious goal?

We hosted the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and the entire experience showcased that the country has built one of the most impressive digital infrastructures globally. At GBI, we played a crucial role in supporting the seamless broadcasting of this global event, utilizing our network efficiently without any issues. With our infrastructure’s proven technical capabilities and international reputation, we will undoubtedly continue to contribute to Qatar’s National Vision ambition, particularly in its impressive digital transformation plans. Our infrastructure will be a critical component in ensuring the country receives the most advanced digital solutions, solidifying its position as one of the world’s digitally advanced societies.

How does GBI stay at the forefront of industry trends, and how are these innovations integrated into the company’s operational strategies?

We are always investing heavily in our infrastructure so that it can support ever-more data-hungry applications and experiences. The explosion of data generated from the likes of AI and IoT requires high capacity, low latency connectivity meaning legacy solutions that are not regularly updated will soon hinder the growth and adoption of such innovation. We continuously introduce new and advanced solutions so that we can offer our customers diversity in how they get what they want in the most reliable, cost-effective, and secure way. Our connectivity solutions coupled with our future datacenter plans provide an unmatched end-to-end capability to our customers in order to bring the most advanced technologies to Qatar.

With the increasing importance of cybersecurity, how does GBI ensure the security and privacy of the data transmitted through its network?

GBI owns and operates its international network 100% itself, 24/7, 365 days of the year. By doing that, we ensure a very reliable and highly-secure operation for all of our customers. We also actively monitor the latest cybersecurity solutions in the world and integrate them to our network with the understanding that any cybersecurity threat or instance may have significant consequences. We take security seriously and implement every possible mechanism in our network to make it extremely robust.



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