Airtel partners with HP to offer cloud services to SMEs (India, USA)
Leading telecom operator in India Bharti Airtel has partnered with Hewlett-Packard to give cloud-based e-mail, accounting packages, business software and storage services to small and mid-sized businesses, a move to extend revenue from data services when voice-based income have been declining, as per a report by ET.
For HP, the five-year deal will mean that it gains market access for its cloud computing technologies with no need to spend on marketing to SMBs who form element of Bharti Airtel’s customer base. As per the report, the telecom company has 30,000 SMB customers for internet and mobile services and now it will likely be ready to expand that portfolio of services to incorporate accounting software, storage, business software (like pay roll) or maybe additional computing resources.
Amrita Gangotra, director of IT at Bharti Airtel, said that they’re starting with basic services and may expand to more specialised offerings like healthcare and education applications at the cloud, later. Both companies declined to share the cost of the contract or the revenue implications. Bharti now earns 12 percent of its revenue from SMBs, as stated inside the report.
The partnership comes at a time when voice revenues and margins are falling (in low single digits) and telecom firms are taking a look at new revenue streams. HP has an identical tie-up inside the US with Verizon and others.
The report highlights that while HP implements and manages the cloud infrastructure (data centres, storage software and hardware and make sure scalability, security), Bharti Airtel will use its market reach to win customers. Towards this end, Bharti Airtel has hired a cloud expert from Wipro Technologies.
The Cloud Enablement Platform, as Bharti Airtel has termed it, could be hosted in India by HP. This can offer cloud-based applications on a pay-as-you-go model and meets telecom regulator Trai’s norms on hosting data locally, the 2 companies said.
Biswajeet Mahapatra, research director at Gartner India, described the deal as a “win-win” for both, observing that businesses inclusive of Etisalat in Dubai and China Telecom in China are observing such partnerships to drive data revenues.