IBM follows Airtel in African telecom safari
The country’s largest private cellular services operator, Bharti Airtel, which bought the operations of Zain telecom in 16 African countries, has outsourced its IT network in Africa to technology major IBM for a period of 10 years.india Updated: Sep 18, 2010 02:09 IST
The country’s largest private cellular services operator, Bharti Airtel, which bought the operations of Zain telecom in 16 African countries, has outsourced its IT network in Africa to technology major IBM for a period of 10 years.
Under the agreement signed in Nairobi on Friday, IBM will consolidate Bharti’s network in the 16 countries into an integrated IT system and will oversee the management of all of the applications, data centre operations, servers, storage and desktop services.
IBM already manages Bharti's IT infrastructure in India in a 10-year deal that began in 2004. The deal had an initial value of about $750 million, but is estimated to have grown manifold as it is linked to Bharti's subscriber and revenue growth.
Bharti was the first Indian mobile operator to outsource its network to save on costs, a strategy that helped it on its way to become the country's top mobile operator.
“We are delighted to extend our successful relationship with IBM in South Asia to Africa,” said Sunil Mittal, chairman and managing director Bharti Airtel. “This transformational business delivery model, which will be a first in Africa’s telecom industry, will bring enhanced efficiencies to our operations and help us deliver world-class mobile services to our customers.”
When the agreement becomes final, IBM will provide customer support applications for customer relationship management, billing and self-care that will empower customers and assist Bharti Airtel in delivering innovative and convenient 2G and 3G mobile services.
According to a Reuters report from Nairobi, IBM’s Chairman and Chief Executive Samuel Palmisano said at a press briefing that the deal would pave the way to cheaper calling rates, thus spreading communication technology in Africa.