Cisco scores an SD-WAN deal with India's Airtel

In order to meet the demand for next-generation business services, India's Bharti Airtel has picked Cisco as a technology partner, which includes deployment of Cisco's Viptela SD-WAN services.

With one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, business is booming in India as Airtel's enterprise and SBM customers look to tap into digital technologies. In addition to a managed SD-WAN service from Cisco, Airtel will also offer its business customers Cisco's Webex conferencing platform, according to Monday's announcement. 

“We are delighted to announce this alliance which further strengthens the deep relationship we have with Cisco," said Airtel Business CEO Ajay Chitkara, in a prepared statement. "Digital India has opened up a huge residual opportunity to help businesses in their digital transformation journey and achieve the next level of growth. We look forward to working closely with Cisco to bring best-in-class digitization and collaboration solutions to customers and consolidate Airtel’s leadership position in the Indian B2B segment.”

Airtel Business serves more than 1,000 global enterprises, 2,000 large businesses and 500,000 SMBs across India.

Bharti Airtel is locked into competition with Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea to win over subscribers in India. According to a story by Business Today, Reliance Jio crossed the 300 million subscriber mark last month after two-and-a-half years of operations. Bharti Airtel had 340.3 million customers at the end of January while Vodafone Idea has the most subscribers in India with 400 million.

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Additional service provider customers for Cisco/Viptela's SD-WAN technologies include Orange Business Services and CenturyLink.

Two years ago, Cisco paid Cisco paid $610 million for Viptela. Last summer Cisco announced it was continuing the integration of its Viptela acquisition by adding Viptela's SD-WAN technology to its enterprise routing platforms. In March, IHS Markit ranked Cisco second behind VMware/VeloCloud for fourth quarter SD-WAN revenues.