22nd September, 2010
Bharti Airtel Limited and IBM (NYSE: IBM) have announced the selection of IBM to manageÂ the computing technology and services that power Bharti Airtelâ€™s mobile communicationsÂ network spanning 16 African countries. An agreement is expected to be finalized in theÂ fourth quarter.
Under a completed agreement, IBM will deploy and manage state-of-the-art informationÂ technology infrastructure and applications to support Bharti Airtelâ€™s goal of bringingÂ affordable and innovative mobile services to remote locations in Africa.
In addition, IBM will deploy advanced technologies created by IBM Research, including theÂ Spoken Web â€” a voice-enabled Internet technology that allows users to access and shareÂ information simply by talking over an existing telephone. This is particularly compellingÂ for populations with little or no literacy, visual impairments, or which lack access toÂ PCs.
When completed, the agreement will extend a deep relationship between IBM and BhartiÂ Airtel that was established in 2004 when South Asiaâ€™s leading mobile communicationsÂ provider tapped IBM to run the IT and applications for its entire Indian network.
According to a Deloitte report commissioned by the mobile communications industryÂ association GSMA, only 40 out of every 100 Africans have a mobile phone. However, demandÂ is growing at an average rate of 25 per cent annually, and a 10 per cent rise in mobileÂ penetration could increase gross domestic product by 1.2 per cent in developing markets.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Airtel, said: â€œThere are hugeÂ opportunities throughout Africa to transform how people communicate and how communitiesÂ interact. Delivering on that opportunity through affordable mobile communications forÂ everyone is our focus.
Bharti Airtel has operations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DemocraticÂ Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles,Â Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.