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Bharti Airtel to invest 5,000 cr to triple data centre capacity by 2025

Bharti Airtel will invest 50 billion rupees ($673 million) in expanding its data centre business to meet customer demand in and around India. (REUTERS)Premium
Bharti Airtel will invest 50 billion rupees ($673 million) in expanding its data centre business to meet customer demand in and around India. (REUTERS)

  • Bharti Airtel's subsidiary Nxtra will set up new data centres in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata. Nxtra expects Chennai data centre to go live by October, Mumbai in the next 18 months and Kolkata by 2024

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Sunil Mittal-led telecom major Bharti Airtel on Thursday said that it will invest 5,000 crore in expanding its data centre business to meet customer demand in and around the country by 2025.

Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO of Airtel Business, said its Nxtra unit will make the investment by 2025, with plans to build a data centre economy across 80 cities in India, adding that the move will triple its installed capacity to more than 400 MW.

"We are making a fresh investment of 5,000 crore to expand our data centres. Some of the work has already started. As an organisation we are trying to build an ecosystem, which will cover 70 more cities," Chitkara said at a virtual press conference.

"There is a huge potential and huge demand (for data centres) which is expected in the next three to four years time," Chitkara added.

The company will set up 7 hyperscale campuses and increase the share of green power in running data centres to 50% from 35% at present.

Currently, Nxtra runs 10 large and 120 edge data centres, or smaller data processing facilities, across India and the expansion is part of a strategy by telcos to add new revenue streams to their business and lure enterprise clients who typically offer higher margins.

Nxtra plans to add 40 megawatt capacity in the existing data centres in the next 5-6 months.

The firm is setting up new data centres in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata. Nxtra expects Chennai data centre to go live by October, Mumbai in the next 18 months and Kolkata by 2024.

The business plan also comes at a time when traditional voice services face new competition from free calls on apps such as Facebook's WhatsApp and Signal.

An affiliate of US private equity group Carlyle last year bought a 25% stake in Nxtra. Airtel still owns 75%.

Public cloud spending in India is expected to exceed $12 billion by 2025, Naveen Mishra of research firm Gartner said.

Airtel's rival Reliance Jio, which is controlled by industrialist Mukesh Ambani, forged an alliance with Microsoft in 2019 to build data centres across India and this year partnered with Google to boost its enterprise and consumer offerings as it plans to launch 5G services.

Separately, Airtel said Nxtra will increase the use of green energy for its data centres, aiming to source 50% of its power requirements from renewable sources.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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