IBM pushes deeper into Africa with telecom deal

SAN FRANCISCO  — IBM has struck an agreement to overhaul the back-office technological infrastructure of a major telecommunications operator in Africa.

The 10-year deal being announced Friday with New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel Ltd. represents a major opportunity for IBM while helping expand access to reliable mobile phone service.

It doesn't have a published price tag. The agreement is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter.

IBM, which has managed Bharti Airtel's information-technology infrastructure in India since 2004, will consolidate Bharti Airtel's technology in Africa and manage the technologies behind day-to-day operations.

Bharti Airtel hopes the changes will help it reach more than 100 million African customers by 2012.

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