New Zealand , Australia and Chile

Japan’s NEC eyeing Chile-championed Trans-Pacific cable contract

Bnamericas Published: Saturday, August 13, 2022
Japan’s NEC eyeing Chile-championed Trans-Pacific cable contract

Japanese telecom equipment manufacturer and systems integrator NEC is aiming to become a supplier for Humboldt, the Chile-championed Trans-Pacific cable that will connect South America with Oceania and Asia.

The group is now working on project details and expects to present a proposition in September, Roberto Murakami, CTO and head of contract management at NEC Latin America, told BNamericas.

In July, Chile’s state-run infrastructure fund Desarrollo País and its partner in the Humboldt project, H2 Cable, launched a request for proposition (RFP) process for companies interested in the construction of the 14,810km system.

“We are working [on the proposition]. There are at least three large companies in the world that have a lot of footprint and expertise in the area [of submarine cable development], there is competition. But we are working hard to win this project,” Murakami said.

The companies Murakami referred to include US group SubCom and Nokia's Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). Both are suppliers for a host of different systems connecting Latin America and being developed in the region.

ALSO READ Spotlight: Latin America’s next submarine cables 

NEC could find itself at a disadvantage due to the corporate ties of some of its rivals. 

H2 Cable owns a namesake cable project connecting Australia and Hong Kong. Announced in 2019, the H2 system has been scheduled to launch this year. The supply of the cable and its installation was commissioned to SubCom.

Besides, both Desarrollo País and H2 Cable hired International Connectivity Services, belonging to Hawaiki Group/BW Digital, to “finalize the system design, kick-start the recruitment process and connect with potential key customers.”

H2 Cable’s director Remi Galasso is also the founder and executive chairman of Hawaiki/BW Digital. 

This group is the owner of a 15,000km namesake cable, linking Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Pacific Island, Hawaii, and Oregon on the US West Coast, which went live in July 2018 having SubCom as its supplier. 

According to Desarrollo País, Hawaiki Cable will be one of the systems to which Humboldt will interconnect. The other will be Hawaiki Nui, which is currently in development.


Desarrollo País’ general manager, Patricio Rey Sommer, said in July that with the RFP process the Humboldt project was entering its "most challenging" stage, with the technical definition of the route and the execution schedules.

“We have asked that vendor proposals be based on an 'Open Cable System' model", Rey said in a statement.

Investments of US$650mn were initially mentioned for Humboldt, but the current estimate is that it will demand an investment of around US$400mn.The final costs will eventually be determined by the RFP process.

Humboldt is expected to capture about 18% of the traffic between South America and Asia. Initial studies indicate that traffic between the two regions will grow by around 28% annually over the next 25 years.

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