New Delhi , India – November 12, 2006 — Microsoft and Bharti Airtel, today announced a strategic partnership that will offer a range of software and services for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India . The partnership will begin by offering to Indian SMBs Microsoft Solutions for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration. It will also offer other hosted applications like CRM, Accounting, ERP, Unified Communications and select Microsoft ISV applications.
In unique software cum service solution model, Airtel is working in close co-operation with Microsoft to provide enterprise-class software bundled with connectivity solutions to small businesses that do not have dedicated IT resources. This service is predominantly aimed at companies with five or more employees, and is expected to be available in January 2007. These companies will now be able to enjoy the same experience as large enterprise customers without initial investments using a pay-as-you-go model.
This new professional messaging and collaboration service will give small businesses the ability to access secure enterprise grade e-mail, secure instant messaging and intranet portals with rich collaboration capabilities, whether they are in the office or on the road. This follows the strategic partnership between Airtel and Microsoft that enables Airtel customers to access corporate email via direct push technology using Microsoft's Windows Mobile ® 5.0 platform. Managed entirely by Airtel, these services will allow businesses to communicate more efficiently, reduce administrative and IT overheads and connect employees with business-critical information whenever and wherever they need it.
"SMB vertical in India have huge potential and offer an exciting opportunity for Bharti. We estimate total telecom spend in the SMB space to be around Rs. 18,000 Crores. IDC estimates that IT spending by SMBs would grow by 17% which is the highest in Asia Pacific. With integrated capabilities across wire-line, wireless, data & managed services, Bharti is in a unique position to be the preferred partner to provide Telecom and Networking solutions to this segment. We are pleased to partner with Microsoft to offer to Indian SMBs this unique business model." SaidRakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises.
“Microsoft is thrilled to be working with Bharti to deliver advanced, enterprise-class features once reserved only for corporations with extensive IT budgets," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. "We believe that small and medium businesses will be able to see the benefits of this solution very quickly."
About Bharti Airtel Limited:
Bharti Airtel Limited is one of India’s leading private sector providers of telecommunications services with an aggregate of 28.69 million customers as of end of September‘06, consisting of 27.06 million mobile customers. Bharti Airtel has been rated among 10 best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list.
Bharti Airtel is structured into three strategic business units - Mobile services, Broadband & Telephone (B&T) services and Enterprise services. The mobile business provides mobile & fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23 telecom circles. The B&T business provides broadband & telephone services in 94 cities. The Enterprise services provide end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national & international long distance services to carriers. All these services are provided under the Airtel brand. Airtel’s high-speed optic fibre network currently spans over 36,000 kms covering all the major cities in the country. The company has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe. For more information, visit www.bhartiairtel.in
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software-any time, any place and on any device. Microsoft Corporation India Private Ltd is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation USA. It has had a presence in India since 1990 and currently has offices in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune.