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Bharti, IBM ink 10-year IT pact for Africa

July 12, 2011 16:00 IST

ITExtending its partnership with IBM, telecom major Bharti Airtel has now awarded a 10-year contract to the technology giant for providing IT solutions to its employees across 16 African countries.

Under the new agreement, IBM will provide end-user services to airtel employees across Africa in French and English.

It will provide a standard operating environment, 'help desk' and 'desk side' support to enhance employee efficiency and convenience, Bharti airtel said in a statement.

However, the value of the deal was not disclosed.

The consolidation of airtel's helpdesks is expected to bring about greater cost savings and efficiencies through streamlining of the processes for addressing IT operational issues.

IBM is already managing Bharti airtel's IT operations in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and 16 African countries.

It will also include an enhanced information enterprise security solution that further strengthens airtel's commitment to customer data privacy.

Last year, Bharti airtel had acquired Kuwait-based Zain Telecom's African business for $10.7 billion.

The announcement builds on the strategic partnership announced by airel and IBM in late 2010 for the management of the computing technology and services powering Airtel's mobile communications network spanning 16

African countries, it added.

Outsourcing of key 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.

IBM will also be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of a standard operating environment, using platforms, tools and management processes.

"This agreement enables us to provide the best IT capabilities to our employees with a focus on making innovative mobile solutions available across Africa," Bharti Airtel chief executive officer (International) and joint managing director Manoj Kohli said.

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.

Bharti Airtel currently has over 44 million customers across 16 African countries and is targeting 100 million subscribers by 2015.

"This latest agreement will bring enhanced efficiencies to benefit customers, employees and business partners of Bharti airtel," IBM general manager (growth markets) Bruno Di Leo said.

The new agreement was signed in the first quarter of 2011.

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