BANGALORE, India (AFP) – Indian mobile-phone firm Idea Cellular has signed a deal with IBM potentially worth as much as 800 million dollars to the US technology giant, the company said.
Under the 10-year pact, International Business Machines will provide Idea Cellular with technology backup and handle business processes ranging from billing and cedit collection to subscriber management and fraud control.
The deal, depending on Idea Cellular’s revenue and business expansion, will be worth between 600 million dollars and 800 million dollars, a statement said Thursday.
“We will harness IBM’s power to support Idea’s explosive growth … with the most advanced business processes globally,” Idea Cellular Managing Director Sanjeev Aga said in the statement.
The deal will reinforce IBM’s position as a leading partner to telecommunication companies, said Shankar Annaswamy, who heads IBM India.
Idea Cellular, which is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange, is a part of the 12-billion-dollar Aditya Birla group.
With 14 million existing customers, the mobile-phone company has expansion plans that will enable it to cover 70 percent of India, the world’s fastest-growing cellular market.
India’s mobile-phone service providers are expanding to tap a market in which just 13 per 100 people have a mobile phone, compared with a 40 percent penetration rate in China.
By 2010, India is expected to have 500 million mobile-phone subscribers, according to a government forecast, as call charges drop along with handset prices under the pressure of competition.
British telecom giant Vodafone won the bidding last month to purchase Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa’s 67-percent stake in India’s Hutchison Essar for 11.1 billion dollars in cash.