Bharti Airtel has announced a five year management agreement with technology firm Ericsson to run its networks across 19 countries in Africa, including Kenya.
The five-year deal, which will cost $1.3-billion, will see Ericsson design, build, operate, and manage day-to-day operations of the mobile firm’s second (2G) and third (3G) generations network, which is being tested before going live in Kenya in September.
In the agreement, Ericsson will manage and optimize Bharti Airtel’s mobile networks in Africa to provide a superior customer experience.
The move aims to cut operational costs and grow its market share through modern services. Mobile telephone technology is rapidly changing and the company sees data services present key to growth as voice charges drop.
Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli said Ericsson would also provide technology, consulting and network development as part of the modernization process.
“The new generation equipment from Ericsson will help reduce our total cost of ownership of the networks. Ericsson has been our managed services and network technology partner in Asia operations. Given its expertise and strong track record, we are confident this partnership will be able to deliver the best networks a service to our customers in Africa,” Kohli concluded.