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Airtel, IBM finalise technology services deal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Bharti airtel on Friday announced the completion of contract negotiations for technology services spanning 16 African countries.

As part of the 10-year agreement signed in December last year, 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.

IBM will consolidate and transform the 16 different IT environments across airtel\’s African operations into an integrated IT system, and will oversee the management of all applications, data centre operations, servers, storage and desktop services. IBM will deploy technologies, processes and best practices to enable airtel to offer superior customer experience.

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.  

"Our 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,” Manoj Kohli, Chief Executive Officer (International) and Joint Managing Director, airtel said

"This agreement with airtel further fortifies our business partnership and efforts in developing smarter telecommunications networks in remote areas of the world," said Bruno Di Leo, General Manager, IBM Growth Markets.

"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."

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.

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Since then, airtel has seen explosive growth from six million subscribers to more than 150 million today. Airtel currently has 40 million customers across its African operations and is targeting 100 million by 2012 – 2013.

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