Airtel-Amazon team up to take on Jio-Microsoft in the battle for India’s cloud market

Airtel inks partnership with AWS to expand cloud footprint in IndiaBCCL
  • Airtel and Amazon Web Services (AWS) has signed a multi-year strategic collaboration agreement to offer cloud solutions to Airtel’s clients.
  • The new Airtel-AWS deal will face off against the existing Jio-Microsoft partnership in the Indian market.
  • While Airtel and Jio battle for telecom supremacy, AWS and Microsoft are looking for ways to keep on top of the cloud market with data storage demands set to surge once 5G comes into play.
Airtel is teaming up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a strategic collaboration agreement to bring in more cloud services for the enterprise side of its solutions in India. The tie-up will also take on the existing Jio-Microsoft partnership which has the Microsoft Azure cloud platform at the centre of it.

With Vodafone tracking third, Airtel and Reliance Jio caught in a battle for telecom supremacy. Subscribers and the average return per user (ARPU) gauge the wide availability of a network, enterprise businesses are where the margins are better. And, the cloud market is expected to be worth nearly $8 billion in another three years, according to Gartner.

The surge could happen even sooner with the demand for cloud seeing acceleration amid the coronavirus pandemic as more businesses look for a way to help their employees work from home. It’s not just the telecom companies who are caught in a face-off but also the cloud providers. AWS, Microsoft and Google are the top three cloud providers in India, with AWS leading the pack.

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Where Airtel is using AWS to have public, private and hybrid cloud options — AWS benefits as Airtel ensures that it doesn’t fall behind in a market where Microsoft has a partnership with the telecom that has the most subscribers and is expected to grow even further.

Airtel already has its own Airtel Cloud platform but it will now be integrating AWS to develop new products within its portfolio. It already has around 2,500 large enterprises and more than a million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) clients in its kitty.

Setting the stage for 5G
Cloud partnership will also have a bigger role to play once the 5G network is announced in India. Connecting the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, milliseconds making a difference in productivity and the sheer amount of data will need a reliable and customisable space in the cloud.

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Jio has already said that it is 5G ready even as we await an announcement on 5G auction from the government. Airtel has made no such statement yet but it did showcase its 5G solutions at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) earlier this year, an indicator that the company has plans to make its own bid for 5G airwaves.

Last month, Bharti Airtel also picked up a $235 million investment from the US-based Carlyle Group in its data centre business, Nxtra, for a 25% stake. Nxtra has 10 large data centres across the country and 120 edge data centres.

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