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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Airtel, IBM finalise deal on African market

The International Business Machines (IBM) and Bharti Airtel, have announced the completion of contract negotiations for technology services spanning 16 African countries.

A press statement made available to ITRealms Online and confirmed by the Public Relations Manager, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine showed that as part of the 10-year agreement signed in December 2010, IBM will deploy and manage the information technology (IT) infrastructure and applications to support Airtel’s goal of providing affordable and innovative mobile services throughout Africa, the world’s fastest growing mobile market.

The deal, he said, would afford IBM a platform to bolster innovative and affordable mobile services across the continent of Africa.

According to him, IBM tends to consolidate and transform the 16 different Information Technology (IT) environments across Airtel’s African operations into an integrated IT system.

This, he further said will oversee the management of all applications, data center operations, servers, storage and desktop services.

“IBM will deploy technologies, processes and best practices to enable Airtel to offer superior customer experience,” part of the press statement read.

The agreement calls for IBM to provide customer support applications that include customer relationship management, billing, and self-service that will empower customers and assist Airtel in delivering innovative and convenient 2G and 3G mobile services.

In addition, IBM plans to deploy a powerful media management system to offer content such as music and video over mobile devices, while simultaneously facilitating the growth of the application developer community in Africa, which will enable Airtel to tap new sources of revenue.

The Chief Executive Officer (International) and Joint Managing Director, Airtel, Mr. Manoj Kohli said, the relationship with IBM is catalytic in its delivery of Information and Communication Technology solutions across Africa.

“The deployment of cutting edge technology will provide a positive multiplier effect to our customers, employees and business partners through applications that deliver enhanced services, data and processes in real time.

An empowered ecosystem will manifest in quick delivery of solutions that meet the evolving needs of Africa’s consumers,” he said.

And for the General Manager, IBM Growth Markets, Mr. Bruno Di Leo, that this agreement further fortifies the business partnership and efforts in developing smarter telecommunications networks in remote areas of the world with Airtel.

“With more than half a billion mobile subscriptions and significant annual growth, Africa represents 10 percent of the global market. The demand for new services - such as mobile internet access - spurs the need for a developed network of telecommunications connectivity.

IBM is helping Airtel tap this growth by accelerating the rollout of an enhanced consumer experience across the continent,” he said.

The agreement extends the relationship between IBM and Bharti Airtel established in 2004, when South Asia’s leading mobile communications provider selected IBM to run IT and applications for its entire network in India.

Since then, Airtel has seen explosive growth from six million subscribers to more than 202 million customers today. Airtel currently has 40 million customers across its African operations and is targeting 100 million by 2012 - 2013.

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