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Bharti airtel and IBM finalize Africa agreement

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Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director, Bharti airtel
BM and Bharti airtel have announced the conclusion of negotiations for technology services spanning 16 African countries, extending a relationship with begain in 2004 when IBM was selected by airtel to run IT and applications for its entire network in India. 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.

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 center 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.

Speaking on the partnership, Manoj Kohli, Chief Executive Officer (International) and Joint Managing Director, airtel said, “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. An empowered ecosystem will manifest in quick delivery of solutions that meet the evolving needs of Africa’s consumers.”

“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.”
airtel is the new brand name for the 16 Zain operations across Africa that were acquired by Bharti airtel in June 2010.

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