India's Vodafone Idea Taps IBM & Ericsson for Cloud

Vodafone Idea knows how to end the workweek with a bang. IBM and Ericsson separately announced cloud deals with the Indian telco on Friday.

IBM says it signed a multi-million-dollar, five-year agreement with Vodafone Idea to improve customer experience for millions of connected customers and businesses in India. IBM's hybrid cloud platform will enable more intimate engagement with more than 387 million subscribers. Vodafone Idea will use IBM hybrid and multi-cloud, analytics and AI security, and the two companies will fast-track joint initiatives in AI and the Internet of Things.

Additionally, Ericsson said Vodafone Idea will deploy Ericsson's cloud packet core to enhance the telco's existing core network. Vodafone Idea will use Ericsson's core network applications and virtual network functions (VNFs) such as the vendor's virtual Evolved Packet Gateway (vEPG), Service Aware Policy Controller (vSAPC) and Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi) to enable fast introduction of new services and provide service continuity.

It's one of the largest vEPC deployments for Ericsson anywhere in the world, the vendor said. The technology will help Vodafone Idea keep up with booming traffic, and also tap new revenue streams in small and medium enterprises and Internet of Things.

Vodafone Idea is the result of a 2018 merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Vodafone Idea reportedly awarded another batch of contracts, totaling about $1.3 billion, to various vendors in November, with China's Huawei and ZTE gaining at the expense of Europe's Ericsson and Nokia.

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Why this matters
Vodafone Idea will need cloud agility to prosper in the competitive Indian market and, like every carrier, it's working hard to get its network ready for 5G.

For Ericsson, the deal caps off a strong quarter.

IBM, on the other hand, is having problems, with an overall revenue decline and 10% cloud revenue increase in its most recent quarter, failing to keep up with growth in the sector. The Vodafone Idea deal will add credibility to IBM's efforts to remake itself as a multi-cloud partner to business.

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— Mitch Wagner Visit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on TwitterJoin my Facebook GroupRead my blog: Things Mitch Wagner Saw Executive Editor, Light Reading

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