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Airtel taps IBM and Red Hat for new network cloud

ARMONK, N.Y., and NEW DELHI – Bharti Airtel ("Airtel"), one of India's largest integrated telcos, has selected IBM and Red Hat to build its new telco network cloud, designed to make it more efficient, flexible and future-ready to support core operations and enable new digital services. Under the agreement, Airtel will build its next generation core network, analytical tools and new consumer and enterprise services on top of this cloud platform based on open standards.

With the new network cloud, Airtel intends to deliver a better customer experience through enhanced network performance, improved availability, operations automation and scaling the network to the edge. This is designed to reduce latency and improve bandwidth availability and automation, thereby strengthening the overall quality of the network.

India's data consumption is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 70% by 20221. Adopting a modern hybrid cloud architecture enables communication service providers (CSPs) to deliver more responsive networks that tap into automation and AI to address growing customer needs and deploy new services at the right location and network tier.

Using IBM and Red Hat's portfolio of hybrid cloud and cognitive enterprise capabilities, Airtel plans to adopt an open cloud architecture that uses Red Hat OpenStack Platform for all network workloads and Red Hat OpenShift for newer containerized workloads. It will also tap into Red Hat's ecosystem of network OEMs. In the future, Airtel's open hybrid cloud platform is expected to help enable new revenue streams with the on-boarding of third-party services including gaming, remote media production and enterprise services. By embracing IBM and Red Hat's hybrid cloud technology all the way to the network edge, Airtel aims to achieve improvement in time-to-market of services, reduction in operating expenses and reduced capital expenses.

The network cloud will also position ecosystem partners, including B2B and B2C application developers, to create value-added services, including new edge offerings. The multicloud platform and end-to-end intent-based lifecycle management will help onboard these services faster on the network cloud and seamlessly integrate these services with current fulfilment, assurance and billing processes. Additionally, the network cloud is embedded with AI, designed to facilitate automation in onboarding and improvs monitoring and predictive capabilities for different services from network equipment providers.

Airtel

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