Ericsson wins pan-African managed services deal

Emerging markets carrier Bharti Airtel has tapped Ericsson in a five year managed services contract for its African operations.

Under its first multi-country managed services deal in Africa, Ericsson will manage and optimise Airtel’s mobile networks across 16 countries in the region, freeing up Airtel to focus on its core operations of innovating and launching new products, services and mobile applications for over 44 million customers across the continent.

Under a separate two year agreement, Ericsson will also modernise and upgrade Airtel’s mobile networks in Africa with its multi standard RBS 6000 base station, delivering HSPA 3G technology to the operations.

Manoj Kohli, CEO and joint managing director at Bharti Airtel said: “Ericsson has been our managed services and network technology partner in the Asian operations. Given its expertise and strong track record we are confident that this partnership will be able to efficiently deliver the best networks and services to our customers in Africa. The new generation equipment from Ericsson will help reduce our total cost of ownership of the networks.”

Bharti bought Zain’s African operations for $10.7bn in 2010 and rebranded, making Airtel the master brand for all the group’s 19 operations in Asia and Africa covering over 200 million customers.

In it’s second quarter results announced last week, Ericsson said managed services sales were down for the first time ever, compared to the second quarter 2010. Managed services sales decreased by 16 per cent year-over-year to SEK4.7bn and were down four per cent sequentially. “The underlying fundamental growth drivers for the services business remain and customer interest is high,” said Ercisson.

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