Cyprus is already acting as a telecoms hub in the region. But how much more could it achieve with the right investment? We asked other operators in the country what they thought the potential was.
Data rooms and financial services
“Because of the networks it is connected to it has great potential to become a telecommunications hub,” said Christodoulos Protopapas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hellas Sat.
“The Cyprus time zone is ideal because, during its working hours, both the stock exchanges in Tokyo, London and New York are open. Also, wages are relatively low for someone that wants to establish a dealing room.”
Protopapas says Cyprus should strive to provide regional services such as data rooms, disaster recovery sites for e-commerce companies, and services for financial services providers such as commodity, foreign exchange and credit card companies.
“Cyprus right now downloads six times as much as it uploads. This is because we are lagging behind in the digital economy,” Protopapas said.
Scope for more
Cablenet’s Chief Commercial Officer Periklis Theodoridis agrees that there is great potential.
“Due to the Middle East’s unstable environment, many of our neighbouring countries seek a partner with a stable political system and economy to cooperate with for all their telecommunication needs, so that they diversify their core business and reduce the risk of disappearing off the map in case of an unfortunate event,” he said.
“International giants such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM have been on the ground, supporting Cyprus’s tech evolution for many years; there is, though, room for further development and growth in the sector.”
Theodoridis says that with the country’s strategic geographical location, Cyprus is perfectly placed to realise the European vision of a digitally- democratised society and see substantial growth in coming years.
“Cyprus can become a centre of excellence for technology development, and with so much untapped potential, especially human resources, the island can provide interesting opportunities for tech-savvy investors and innovators,” he said.
MTN’s Chief Commercial Officer, Thanos Chronopoulos, also emphasises the advantage of Cyprus’ security.
“Cyprus is the safest destination in a region of great disturbance and uncertainty. As such, the island enjoys a big advantage over the other countries of the region, as it can safely host digital services and data for many international and local companies, institutions or even governments that are hesitant to invest in technology in countries and regions that are affected by war or a generally politically unstable environment,” he said.
“MTN Cyprus, as a part of the MTN Group that operates a very big network in Africa and the Middle East, could prove to be a ‘key’ player in turning Cyprus to a telecom hub, as we can utilise the advantage and be facilitator to initiatives by companies, institutions and governments looking for a safe tech destination.”
Call centres and collocation
PrimeTel’s Chief Commercial Officer, Theodosis Theodosiou, is also upbeat about the potential.
“The possibilities and business opportunities are enormous, ensuring top quality communications and excellent service, both on the retail and wholesale telecommunications market,” he said.
“PrimeTel’s own Data Centres can support the needs of the region, thus strengthening Cyprus’ position as the most important telecoms hub in the wider region.
PrimeTel’s international network spans Germany, Greece, Russia and the UK.
“Our direct network connection to the external nodes ensures quality communication, fast response rates and full bandwidth available at all times. There is great interest from abroad for call centres, connectivity to the region, collocation, hosting and disaster recovery services, which makes PrimeTel services very popular amongst companies with strong international presence,” he added.
The independent operators
In addition to Cyta, the dominant state-owned provider offering fixed and mobile telephony, Internet and TV in Cyprus as well as submarine cable and satellite services abroad, there are a number of other telecommunications operators in Cyprus who were interviewed for this special report.
Cablenet: an independent alternative telecommunications provider in Cyprus offering broadband, fixed telephony and television services through its wholly owned cable infrastructure.
Hellas Sat: the owner and manager of the Hellas-Sat 2 Hellenic satellite, offering its services in the regions of Europe, Middle East and South Africa.
MTN: the first mobile entrant after Cyta, it offers integrated telecommunications solutions for mobile, fixed telephony and broadband services, providing pioneering solutions for private and business clients.
PrimeTel: offers fixed and mobile telephony, Internet and TV in Cyprus, while its international network provides network connectivity, data communications and IP-based services.