SEA-ME-WE-4 Outage to Affect Internet and Telcom Traffic

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The SEA-ME-WE 4 cable linking Europe with the Middle East and South Asia was cut on Wednesday, 14th April in the Mediterranean Sea.

It became inoperable due to a “shunt fault” approximately 1,886 kilometers from Alexandria towards Palermo, Italy in the S4 section of the cable.

A shunt fault occurs when the submarine cable insulation becomes damaged and a short circuit occurs when it comes into contact with water. While repairs are underway it is likely that the outage will take a further 4 days at a minimum and might take up to 10 days depending on weather and sea conditions.

Until today, SEA-ME-WE-4 was operating with limited capacity, however, today starting 12 PM Pakistan Time, all west bound traffic from Egypt onwards has been shut down.

Meaning that all traffic to Europe and US (from Pakistan) may face higher latency – but not the blackout due to redundant/alternate pipes available for usage. Though they cost extra to service providers because of shift of all traffic load to secondary pipes.

In a telephonic communication a Transworld official told ProPakistani that Transworld has bought additional capacity, worth millions of dollars, for eastbound routes, initially landing at Singapore via Japan to United States and then to Europe.

This will increase the route distance hence the latency, but traffic will not be impacted at large, said the official.

Transworld and PTCL are only operators selling international voice and data traffic in Pakistan.

Transworld, that is a sister concern of Mobilink and a project of Orascom has 40 percent market share in Pakistan for International traffic, with major operators such as Wateen, Worldcall, wi-tribe, Neyatel etc on its network.

Tech and telecom reporter for over 15 years

  • The dammaged occured on April 14, it didnt result in complete outage just partial. however, to repair it, the SMW4 cable was to be be taken down completely resulting in complete outage. this was planned for yesterday but it didnt happen because the Ship set out to carry the repair task at deep sea faced bad weather.

    This outage is still expected to take place when bad weather subsides and and the ship is ready to begin repairs.

  • hello everyone
    please guide me that which usb broadband i should go for ?
    my req are 1MB unlimited and have to use VOIP on it.
    My area is Beadon road, near Chaman ice cream Mall road.


    • Bro i have wasted 6000 on PTCL evo… it work just fine for browsing like textual webpages but i cant see videos on youtube… in other words no streaming and no VOIP

      Wateen is much worse than EVO i have tried it also, unable to get more than 20% signal in awan-e-iqbal area…

      i have not tried world call yet…

      i am using it in awain-e-iqbal very next to PTCL building where the main tower is…

  • The Fault occured on 14th of April -2010. The traffic effected but the actuall maintainance window started from 24th April 2010 and it will end up by 28th April 2010 depending upone the conditions of see and other parameters. The Service providers aquired bandwidth via SMW3 to minimize the effect but will not be able to rule out the degradation in the service fully.

  • Transworld, that is a sister concern of Mobilink and a project of Orascom has 40 percent market share in Pakistan for International traffic.


  • Low Speed also Noted in WorldCall BroadBand Only during this current disturbance otherwise Worldcall is the best and Constant speed and constant downloading rate and it keeps constant or it may rise but i never seen such low connectivity for the past 8 months :(

  • i have heard that PTCL customers are facing severe congestion. PTCL has capped Internet capacity for Broadband to 50%. They may be doing this to reduce comaplaints from corporate and enterprise customers.

  • Ahhhh // Just experienced slow browsing and was asking a bunch of folks about it and somebody entered the link here … Nice updated information I must say ..

    Keep up the good work buddy … and I wish i could say the same for PTCL … :(

    – Tirmizi

  • As per latest updates from Main Stream Provider the power reconfiguration has been postponed due to the bad weather condition around the repair ground, the vessel is not in position to proceed with the repair.

  • Latest update about SEA-ME-WE-4 Outage

    As informed by Cable Ship CERTAMEN, the fault has been localized at 1835,1 km from Alexandria.

    The vessel has recovered the BU cable end, test clear towards BU-PAL, buoy off BU-PAL cable end. Alexandria cable-end was recovered successfully.

    Expected activity for the next 24hr:

    * Clearing Alexandria cable end.

    * Commence initial splice.

    * Complete the initial splice.

    * Lay spare cable towards BU-PAL.

    The repair operations completions are estimated anytime within 30/04/2010 (subject to rough weather/sea and cable conditions).

  • torrent speed(Downloading speed) = down from 50%
    browsing = down from 60%

    this just started to happen here in bhdrbad 3 days ago…

  • Hi Guy ,
    I received a msg from ptcl three days ago that u might have slow browsing speed, but it seems i am unable to browse its like from 117 kb to 13 kb

    hope they repair it soon

  • The problem is expected to continue well into next week according to various sources I sincerely hope everything works out well because I am unable to view my lectures via distance learning! Stuck very badly.

  • Latest Update

    SMW4 restoration activity has been completed successfully & all traffic on SMW4 is up & back in service

  • sir, i cant play. its the ping increased to 500 to 600 ms. its worse than dialup :(
    it should be not more than 200 ms

    please do something sir.
    i am from bangladesh, chittagong , and my ip is

    thanks and regards


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