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Bharti moves its business model to Africa

The shoe is yet to drop in terms of South-Asia-like retail prices, but Bharti is beginning to move out its famed outsourcing model to Africa. The story emphasizes IBM, but one has to be understanding of the US-centric NYT.

I.B.M. will supply the computing technology and services for an upgraded cellphone network across 16 nations in sub-Saharan Africa. Its customer is India’s largest cellphone operator, Bharti Airtel, which paid $9 billion a few months ago for most of the African assets of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company, or Zain.

Under the 10-year agreement, I.B.M. will handle customer service for Bharti and provide the hardware, software and services to run everything from billing and call-traffic management to delivering new services like music and video. The deal takes the broad partnership between Bharti and I.B.M., begun in 2004, beyond India. I.B.M. is not disclosing the dollar size of the deal, but analysts estimate it at more than $1.5 billion over the decade-long span.

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