Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bharti Airtel Picks IBM for African Network Integration

Bharti Airtel has selected IBM to manage the computing technology and services that power its mobile communications network spanning 16 African countries.

Bharti Airtel aims to scale its network and systems to more than 100 million African customers by 2012. n June 2010, Bharti Airtel acquired Zain's mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for an enterprise valuation of US$10.7 billion. These networks had a total customer base of over 42 million.
The total population base covered is over 450 million with telecom penetration of approximately 32%. The countries in which Bharti has acquired the operations are - Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Zain is the market leader in 10 of the 15 countries and second in 4 countries. In August, Bharti Airtel announced plans to acquire 100% of Telecom Seychelles, the incumbent operator of Seychelles, for US$62 million. This gives the company a presence in 16 African countries.

Under the new managed services contract, IBM will deploy and manage state-of-the-art information technology infrastructure and applications to support Bharti Airtel's goal of bringing affordable and innovative mobile services to remote locations in Africa. In addition, IBM will deploy advanced technologies created by IBM Research, including the Spoken Web -- a voice-enabled Internet technology that allows users to access and share information simply by talking over an existing telephone. The companies are finalizing the contract and financial terms were not disclosed.

IBM will provide customer support applications that include customer relationship management, billing and self-care for 2G and 3G services. In addition, IBM plans to deploy a powerful content management system to offer rich media content such as music and video over mobile devices, while simultaneously facilitating the growth of the application developer community in Africa.

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