Swedish networking giant Ericsson and operator group VimpelCom has signed a deal worth over $1 billion to ‘radically transform VimpelCom’s global IT infrastructure.’
The deal is being positioned as a ‘software partnership’ by the two companies and amounts to a complete overhaul of VimpelCom’s IT, including its BSS platforms, across the 11 countries it operates in. The companies claim this project is the largest of its type in the industry’s history. It’s especially significant for Ericsson as part of its strategic priority of diversifying away from core networking and towards software and services.
“In a fully connected world, success for operators requires performance, flexibility and efficiency,” said Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg. “Ericsson’s unique BSS as a service concept, combed with our leading services and technology capabilities, will support VimpelCom in realizing these ambitions while positioning the company for further growth as ICT transforms industries everywhere.”
“This marks a fundamental milestone in our transformation as we move ahead with our strategy to turn VimpelCom into a true digital pioneer,” said Jean-Yves Charlier, CEO of VimpelCom. “The new Digital Stack will help us better respond to our customers while also centralizing and simplifying our business, creating lean and agile operations that will result in a more efficient cost structure across our global footprint.”
“This technology shift is a huge leap forward for VimpelCom and forms part of our strategy to transform into an agile business that understands our customers and answers their digital needs,” said Yogesh Malik, CTO of VimpelCom. “Only by investing in the latest technology and going fully digital will we be able to provide these innovative and competitive services across the Group.”
As with any major IT project the claimed benefits include efficiency, agility and future-proofing. The companies have been careful to associate the project with contemporary technological trends such as IoT and the cloud although they resisted any reference to 5G. In the wake of the Uzbekistan scandal VimpelCom will be desperate to move the narrative in a more positive direction and Ericsson is no less keen to advance its strategic story, so it look like the two of them are helping each other out in a number of ways with this deal.