IBM announced last week an agreement to join Bharti airtel in providing improved and expanded 2G and 3G wireless services to airtel’s 40 million African subscribers.
IBM will take over airtel’s African IT divisions, consolidating and streamlining the process. Over the course of the 10-year contract, IBM will oversee application management, data center operations, servers, storage and desktop services. IBM plans to expand airtel’s music and video mobile delivery capabilities as well.
Airtel expects IBM’s expertise in wireless technologies, processes and best practices to enable airtel to offer its customers the best wireless product available.
Airtel’s Chief Executive Officer (International) and Joint Managing Director Manoi Kohli said IBM’s contribution is essential to delivery of information and communication technology solutions across Africa and will greatly enhance subscriber’s experience.
Poised to become a major player, Africa currently accounts for 10 percent of the world’s wireless market. According to the general manager of IBM’s Growth Markets, Bruno Di Leo, this partnership will improve and advance mobile services to Africa’s half a billion wireless subscribers.
IBM and airtel partnered in 2004 to provide IT solutions to airtel’s wireless services in India. Since entering into that partnership, airtel’s subscribers ballooned to 150 million. The company expects to see similar results in Africa.