The Business Year

Cengiz Oztelcan

QATAR - Telecoms & IT

Cengiz Oztelcan

CEO, Gulf Bridge International (GBI)


Cengiz Oztelcan has over 22 years of experience in sales, marketing, business, and corporate development in the 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.

“GBI plans to use its infrastructure and solid foundation to reaffirm its long-standing commitment to the market.“

The demand for OTT media across the globe has significantly increased in the past few years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. How has GBI adapted its business accordingly?

GBI was prepared for high-demand circumstances such as COVID-19, as our GBI Smart Network is a high-capacity network that was purpose-built for the future. With capacity demand ever increasing, the network is facilitating growing requirements to deliver consumer content from OTT media players, as well as supporting business-critical enterprise applications. In partnership with local and regional telecommunication operators and internet service providers, GBI was able to ensure internet availability and business continuity for its partners and the communities it serves throughout the pandemic. Conversely, we were able to meet increasing internet demand with the same high-level performance and availability. This ability was due to the GBI network possessing the capacity to cope with the increase in traffic, while still leaving plenty of headroom to maintain capacity to manage changing customer requirements and traffic spikes.

How do GBI’s partnerships with companies such as Microsoft and Vodafone help support the digitalization of Qatar?

GBI plays a crucial role in supporting Qatar’s digitalization by providing innovative solutions to optimize digital experiences in the region and beyond. Indeed, we work in partnership with companies such as Microsoft and Vodafone, and these relationships represent significant milestones in this mission. Through strategic collaboration, we are able to mitigate challenges faced by organizations of all kinds as they look toward cloud adoption by providing a solid foundation for future digital transformation. Cloud adoption can pose significant obstacles to businesses, specifically ensuring secure connectivity with on-premises and public cloud environments, managing connection breaks, the high cost of bandwidth required for migration, as well as the overall expenditure associated with cloud adoption. However, our partnerships with the aforementioned companies aim to address these obstacles by using GBI’s global MPLS backbone to provide greater reliability, security, and speeds while yielding significant cost benefits. There are many barriers to innovation as it applies to the digitalization of Qatar, and GBI and its partners are working incredibly hard to remove them and support the digital future.

Qatar is set to further use new technologies such as IoT, big data, and AI to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030. What will be GBI’s role in implementing these technologies?

GBI serves a critical role in facilitating all these new innovations. These smart technologies, as well as many others, are reliant on reliable, low latency, high-speed connectivity in order to adequately communicate with each other. When these ecosystems of technologies and devices do not have access to such connectivity, it has a direct correlation to the end users’ overall digital experience. GBI understands the sheer amount of data, high-level security, and the high speeds required for the adoption of these technologies and is prepared to play the critical role of providing the connectivity foundation that is essential to their success.

As a submarine cable provider, which regions offer more attractiveness to expand your infrastructure?

As it currently stands, GBI has a prominent presence in the Middle Eastern region as a result of our core network. However, we are continuously looking for new opportunities to expand our footprint through various avenues. It is critical that we are able to diversify and provide as many services as possible on our own network. We strive to offer unique affordable solutions that are dependable through our infrastructure, while upgrading to the latest available technologies in an effort to improve network uptime, minimize outages, and ensure multiple diverse options. At GBI, we adopt a policy of continual transformation and hope to focus future investments on unique, low latency, differentiated routes.

What will be your priorities for 2021?

For 2021, GBI is focused on continuing to understand the networking needs of both our partners and customers, delivering connectivity that is scalable and flexible, while striving to provide the best possible digital experience for end users. We plan on continuing to deliver critical value-add services to fulfill ever-evolving market requirements through our world-class infrastructure, as well as continuously creating new sets of services that are able to anticipate and fill both future and existing gaps. GBI plans to use its infrastructure and solid foundation to reaffirm its long-standing commitment to the market. We will continue to deliver across the entire value chain to ensure we consistently provide a springboard for innovation both locally and across the region, while removing complexity from networking in an effort to support the future success of Qatar’s digital transformation journey.



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