Bahwan Projects & Telecom LLC, a subsidiary of Suhail Bahwan Group in Oman, has submitted the low bid for a contract to supply fibre-optic cables to Muscat-based Omantel.

Bahwan placed a bid of RO36.4m ($95m). The second lowest bid came from OHI Telecommunications Co at OR42.5m. The tender attracted nine bids, mostly from regional suppliers.

As well as supplying the cables, the tender includes installation, integration, testing and commissioning of the backbone infrastructure in Oman.

The telecoms operator has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran’s TCI, UK-based Cable & Wireless and Russia’s Rostelecom to provide high-capacity, low-latency cable system to link Frankfurt in Germany to Oman via Russia and Iran. The new cable, called the Europe Persia Express Gateway will be in operation by May 2012.

The region’s operators are increasingly investing in fibre-optic infrastructure to provide better connectivity and enable services like internet protocol television (IPTV).

According to research by UK-based Point Topic, IPTV subscribers in the Middle East and Africa has seen the strongest percentage of growth globally over the past year at 63.5 per cent.

Jordan and Egypt have been the countries with the fastest growing fixed-line broadband penetration at about 40 per cent.

Omantel’s shareholders agreed to the distribution of 100 per cent of cash dividends on 29 March. The company posted net profits of RO112m during the year ending 31 December 2010. Total number of subscribers for the operator has increased by 9.8 per cent over the past year.