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Airtel Africa signs managed services deal

Operator outsources management of VAS nodes to Comviva across 16 countries in Africa.

Airtel Africa signs managed services deal
The commercial launch of Airtel Africa's managed VAS services is expected to take place this month.

The African operation of Bharti Airtel has signed an agreement with Comviva to provide mobile managed VAS services across its 16 operations in the continent. The commercial launch of managed VAS services is expected to take place this month.

Under the terms of the five-year deal, the mobile VAS solutions provider Comviva is to manage all of Airtel Africa's VAS nodes, which includes managing the complexities associated with the emergence of multiple technologies, different standards, applications and content.

Manoj Kohli, CEO for international and joint managing director, Airtel Africa, said: "As we expand our operations and services portfolio in Africa, we aim to deliver a broad portfolio of services. By handing over management of operations to Comviva, we can enhance efficiencies in our operations and bring a closer focus on marketing initiatives that will help drive usage and engagement levels across our customer base."

He also said that this move will further support brand differentiation by enabling faster time-to-market, enhanced service performance, and greater innovation.

In October 2010, Airtel Africa outsourced its core customer service functions including call centres and back office operations to IBM, Tech Mahindra and Spanco. Earlier, in September 2010, the company also selected IBM to manage its IT systems to power the mobile communications network across Africa.

Manoranjan Mohapatra, CEO, Comviva said: "The managed VAS approach will enable formulation of a clear end-to-end product strategy founded on a customer-driven roadmap, which will drive service uptake and satisfaction levels, whilst optimising cost structures."

Comviva already has managed services deals with Airtel in Sri Lanka, and in India where it manages over 2,100 VAS nodes.

Bharti Airtel completed its $10.7 billion acquisition of 16 of Zain's African assets in June 2010, and rebranded the operations as Airtel. The Airtel brand has about 19 operations in Asia and Africa, covering over 200 million customers as of November 2010.

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