India’s telcos team with Microsoft, Amazon to corner lucrative data market

Two of India’s biggest telcos Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are moving their competitive rivalry from the mobile telecommunications space to the growing cloud and center as well, and they are linking up with two of the biggest technology giants from the US to do it.

A report last week from BofA Securities entitled Telco wars: Now to Cloud / DCs details how Jio has partnered with Microsoft, and Bharti is teaming up with Amazon. Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the biggest public cloud provider globally, holding about 32.4% share of the market, while Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing unit comes in second with 17.6% market share, ahead of the likes of Google, Alibaba, and Baidu.

The global cloud infrastructure services market is surging this year, having already posted record spend of more than US$30 billion in a single quarter early in 2020, as organizations the world over embrace digital transformation goals which often include moving data and parts of the operations off-premises, and into the cloud.

Cloud adoption has been briskly picking up for Indian businesses too, and was accelerated even more when pandemic-related restrictions this year forced many local companies to revert to remote working setups for the first time.

With cloud expected to be a necessary IT expenditure for small-medium enterprises (SMEs) on the subcontinent for the foreseeable future, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have been competing aggressively for Indian cloud share.

Tying up with the two largest mobile carriers in the country is a good way to access millions of potential consumers, but the two partnerships have different goals when it comes to cloud, according to the BofA Securities report. The Jio-Microsoft partnership will be exclusively targeting SMEs, while Bharti-AWS will be collaborating on enterprise products geared specifically towards the Indian market.

With so much interest in off-premise data management and storage, what of on-premise? Recent reports indicate that demand for outsourced data centers is actually increasing in the country, as users search for flexible, scalable data center solutions that are both operationally and financially viable.

In addition to the seven data center regions presently operational in the country, at least ten new data center projects are expected to come online in India by end 2022. Arizton market research is projecting the sector to grow at a 5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years.

“Both have big ambitions in DC expansion,” the BofA report confirmed.

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