Airtel inks multi-year cloud deal with Amazon to take on Jio-Microsoft

Airtel Amazon cloud
A man wearing a protective face shield cleans a Bharti Airtel logo inside its store, after authorities eased lockdown restrictions that were imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kolkata, India, July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

India’s Bharti Airtel has signed a multi-year strategic cloud deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to tap millions of small and medium enterprise (SME) customers in India. 

The deal comes at a time when Airtel’s bigger rival Reliance Jio is rapidly expanding its enterprise services in partnership with Microsoft in the country. Jio had struck a 10-year deal with Microsoft to sell cloud services to small businesses and build data centres.

Both Airtel and AWS had previously partnered in 2015 and have now decided to go deeper with joint investments in the cloud space. 

Airtel, which serves over 2,500 large enterprises and more than a million emerging businesses, including startups and SMEs, said that its Airtel Cloud will build an AWS Cloud Practice supported by AWS Professional Services.

Both companies will also develop new cloud products using AWS services, Airtel’s data centre capabilities, and Airtel’s network and telecoms offerings. 

Harmeen Mehta, CIO & Head – Cloud and Security Business, Bharti Airtel said that both the telco and AWS will jointly make investments to build cloud capabilities and vertical-specific products for small and large enterprises.

“As part of their cloud adoption journey, enterprises are looking for agility, faster migration from legacy systems, and want to work with trusted partners who have the experience and depth in doing this. This collaboration brings AWS together with Airtel’s deep reach and proven expertise in handling network, data centres, security, and cloud as an integrated solution,” she said.

Under the partnership, AWS will train hundreds of Airtel employees to sell these cloud services to enterprises and SMEs.

Mehta revealed that 300 Airtel employees have already been AWS certified and more employees will be trained in sales, technology and go to market functions.

Puneet Chandok, President, Commercial Business, India and South Asia, Amazon Internet Services Private Limited said that the latest collaboration will offer customers a single point of contact when dealing with complex migrations or custom-built solutions. 

 “We have a large team and will be focusing on solving industry-specific problems. AWS brings over 175 services to the table. We pretty much support any workload on the cloud. We have the largest and most vibrant community of customers, Chandok said.

According to IDC, the public cloud services market in India is likely to reach US$7.1 billion in 2024, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3% from US$3.4 billion in 2020.

Under the partnership, Airtel Cloud will offer customers a range of AWS services including Windows on AWS, SAP on AWS, VMware Cloud on AWS, database migration, and security and risk governance solutions. 

In addition, Airtel Cloud will also leverage AWS’ services across analytics, data warehousing, Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning (ML) to help businesses migrate to the cloud from legacy infrastructures.

In the last one year, Airtel had entered into cloud and enterprise partnerships with Google and Microsoft for GSuite and Azure respectively. Airtel’s Mehta said that the telco works with multiple partners to best serve the need of enterprises and SMEs. 

She also said that the need for cloud and digital transformation has gone up after the nationwide lockdown, which forced employees in various sectors to work from home. “Cloud has been the biggest enabler for companies and they are going to invest on this front.”

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