Greek firm Lancom is taking a new investment step, this time focusing on Crete. Having inaugurated at the beginning of 2022 Balkan Gate Thessaloniki, the largest “neutral” data center in Northern Greece and one of the most advanced in Southeast Europe, it is setting the stage for a new data center in Crete in 2024. With a vision for Greece to become a a telecommunications hub for the wider region, claiming the scepter from Sofia as the data hub of the Balkans, but also in the Eastern Mediterranean where Italy dominates or even the pan-European hub of Marseille, the only purely Greek company in the sector is investing 20 million euros for the first “neutral” data center in Crete.

“Our new investment plan, which includes the creation of our fourth data center and first TIER III carrier neutral Data Center in the Crete region, marks the beginning of a new telecommunications route on the Thessaloniki-Athens-Crete axis, as well as a completely new, optimal transit node from the Middle East, North-East Africa and Asia to Central and North-East Europe”, noted Mr. Giorgos Nolis, CEO of Lancom, during a press conference. “We are redefining Greece’s position on the telecommunications map and creating fertile ground for routing new submarine optical fibers through our country,” he added.

The footprint of Balkan Gate in Kalochori

The fast-growing Greek company, based in Thessaloniki, specializing in advanced cloud services started its journey in 2009, currently has three privately owned data centers. The most emblematic is Balkan Gate Thessaloniki, the largest carrier neutral data center in Northern Greece and one of the largest, most advanced and energy efficient in Southeastern Europe. Its initial area covers 2,500 m2, with a modular design, and can support up to 400 Racks before its final expansion to 10,000 m2.

As the head of Lancom mentioned, its geostrategic position, combined with the rest of Lancom’s infrastructure, the 360-degree services it offers and with an emphasis on the synergies that are being developed, now attracts foreign providers to look more seriously at Northern Greece. Already, the company is in contact with 30 international telecommunications providers, in order to utilize the infrastructure of Balkan Gate to gain access to the possibilities that the Greek market can offer. These are providers who until recently were looking for a way to expand their activities in Greece, but were prevented by the lack of infrastructure. Among the partners are HEXA, the Bulgarian Vestitel which has a network as far as Thessaloniki, Grid Telekom and Islalink, which is developing the submarine fiber optic cable that will connect Italy to Preveza.

Investment continuity

Prioritizing the continuation of its investments in Greece, Lancom, which already has a proprietary fiber optic network of 60 km in Thessaloniki and over 330 km in Athens, has already started the procedures for the construction of Balkan Gate Crete, with a horizon completion in 2024. The aim of this strategic investment is to form an exclusively neutral hub on which all submarine fiber optic cables that will be laid in the Mediterranean and the Aegean will be connected and will be beached at the existing and future Cable Landing Stations (CLS) of the island.

Upon completion, Balkan Gate Crete will be directly connected to the company’s remaining three proprietary data centers, thus creating an integrated telecommunications route across the country, which will offer guaranteed, secure and high-speed data transfer from the Balkans to Southeast Mediterranean.

Today, the company, which until the middle of 2021 was in an organic growth phase, has an annual turnover of 3 million euros, serving more than 1,250 Greek and multinational companies and organizations. It employs over 70 people.

Leaving open the possibility of looking for investment opportunities in the “nearby Balkans”, where the company has already built strategic partnerships, if of course it exhausts its investment plans for Greece, Mr. Nolis did not exclude the case of some acquisitions. The company, which places particular importance on the development of synergies, also looks towards the projects of the Greek State, many of which utilize resources from the Recovery Fund. It has already undertaken a project within the framework of Smart Cities for the open shopping center in Thessaloniki, while another project is expected to be undertaken within the year.

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