Phoenicia Seals CapRock Alliance for Libya VSAT Market

Phoenicia Group has formed a strategic alliance with CapRock Communications to provide end-to-end VSAT connectivity products and solutions for the oil and gas industry in Libya.

VSAT, or Very Small Aperture Terminal, is a satellite based communications system capable of providing Internet connectivity without cable-based infrastructure, ideal for the oil and gas industry, where exploration and production activities are often carried out in remote terrain.

The partnership agreement, sealed last week between Phoenicia Group affiliate Al-Waha IT & Telecommunications and Houston-based CapRock Communications, comprises the deployment of onshore and offshore VSAT terminals to support exploration programs of oil and gas majors prospecting in the country, and will include 24X7 network monitoring, technical support, and provisioning.

Ryad Sunusi, President & CEO of the privately-held Phoenicia Group and a prominent Libyan businessman and consultant, in a prepared statement, said:

"With an installed user base of over 350 VSAT terminals in Libya for government, military, and corporate clients based on iDirect TDMA and SCPC technologies and as the recognized leading IT company in Libya, we believe in forming alliances and partnerships with market leaders abroad in their respective fields, and this is the case with CapRock, whose dedication and experience in the VSAT market will complement our own activities and result in increased business generation.

"By embarking on this strategic and unique corporate alliance, Phoenicia Group and CapRock will join forces to create a dynamic and forward-looking relationship, embodying innovation, reliability, enterprise, skill, and adaptability; bringing clients the very best services; and ensuring mutual development and business potential and growth."

Phoenicia Group, through its affiliate Al-Waha IT & Telecommunications, is the sole licensed private satellite Internet and telecommunications provider in Libya, and offers military, government, and corporate clients in Libya a range of services, including VSAT, IT Consultancy, Disaster Management, VHF&HF, Microwave, Security, Wireless, and VOIP solutions.

"This strategic alliance with Al-Waha IT & Telecommunications places CapRock Communications in an excellent position to serve the Libyan market, giving our customers the local assurance they need to receive a reliable telecommunication solution to support their operations in Libya," said Peter Shaper, CEO of CapRock Communications. "Many of our customers have been looking for a telecommunications solution in Libya for several years, and through this alliance, CapRock is pleased to offer this solution."

Satellite Internet uptake in Libya is on the rise, due to limited and expensive Internet connectivity and infrastructure, download bandwidth restrictions on broadband Internet connections, and slow speeds, and is closely regulated by the GPTC, the government telecommunications body, which heavily fines companies using VSATs installed by unlicensed parties, and which offers its own newly-launched VSAT service, based on the aging DVB-RCS and Nera technology.

Sunusi cautions international companies and expatriates in Libya to practice due diligence and be wary of unlicensed parties who claim they offer satellite Internet and telecommunications services, as contracting with unlicensed parties results in fines and other legal consequences.

GPC Decision 196/2004, an executive decree by Libya's General People's Committee, makes it illegal for unlicensed foreign or local companies to offer VSAT and communications solutions in Libya.

Phoenicia Group, a US-Libyan professional business services company, is a widely touted poster child of Libyan private sector achievement, and has experienced rapid expansion in the oil & gas, construction, tourism, telecommunications, health, services, and agribusiness sectors since its inception in 1999, making it the leading Libyan private company and consultancy group; and sponsoring the spin-off of the Libyan-American Business Council in 2004 to promote U.S-Libya trade and business exchange.