Bharti Aritel, world’s fifth largest telecom company has awarded a 10 year contract to IBM for providing IT solutions to its employees in 16 countries in Africa. This is the second 10 year contract from Bharti for IBM. Last year in September IBM was awarded $1.5 billion contract for managing its IT requirements across 16 countries in Africa.
Incidentally, Bharti recently tied-up with Comviva to manage the telecom giants VAS operations across 16 countries in Africa. Outsourcing of major operational functions has been key to Bharti Airtel’s low-cost, high-volume business model that has helped it to build a subscriber base of over 140 million customers in India. Replicating this model in African operations will be the key to the profitability of Bharti’s loss-making African operations, which it bought from Kuwaiti telco Zain in a $10.7-billion deal.
Bharti Airtel and IBM’s relationship began in 2004, when the telecom operator selected IBM to handle IT and applications for its entire network in India.
The recent development follows a series of changes outlining Airtel’s intent to establish itself as a global brand. The company feels recent partnership with IBM will help it manage its operations effectively while focusing on customer service.