Bharti Airtel has acquired a strategic 7% stake in 5G-ready cloud-based networking solutions provider Cnergee Technologies as it increasingly seeks to deploy locally developed network technologies for its upcoming 5G network to better compete with rival Reliance Jio.
Navi Mumbai-based Cnergee specializes in integrated networking solutions over cloud for businesses of all sizes. Cnergee claims to have developed a range of 5G-ready Network as a Service (NaaS) software tools that can be deployed at scale to enable zero touch service provisioning, central remote monitoring, and management of all connected devices with a host of real time analytics.
Airtel said that the investment – which was made via its Airtel Startup Accelerator Program – will sharpen its NaaS proposition for small and medium businesses (SMBs) who are looking to accelerate their shift to cloud-based applications. Airtel also said Cnergee’s advanced software tools will boost its ‘Work From Anywhere’ solutions portfolio as businesses look to adopt hybrid work models in the post pandemic world.
“As businesses move to cloud-based applications, software defined agile networks are becoming the norm. Airtel is on a mission to accelerate the digital transformation journeys of enterprises through our world-class NaaS platform,” Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO of Airtel Business said in a statement.
Airtel already offers a wide range of connectivity and productivity solutions for SMBs backed by what it says is “unmatched” network reach across India.
As part of its accelerator program, Airtel typically acquires stakes in startups and helps them grow to raise their series A funding besides committing to partnering with them operationally to scale them up.
The program gives startups the opportunity to deploy their technologies and applications at a massive scale, which includes 340 million retail customers and over 1 million business. Airtel offers mentorship from its leadership team and access to Airtel’s global strategic partners.
In February, Airtel acquired a 25% equity stake in local SD-WAN startup Lavelle Networks.
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