© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A girl checks her cell phone as she walks past the Bharti Airtel office building in Gurugram, formerly known as Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, April 21, 2016. REUTERS / Adnan Abidi / File Photo
From Sankalp Phartiyal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Telecommunications giant Bharti Airtel announced Thursday that it will be investing 50 billion rupees ($ 673 million) in expanding its data center business to meet customer demand in and around India.
Ajay Chitkara, CEO of Airtel Business, said his Nxtra unit will make the investment by 2025, with plans to build a data center economy in 80 Indian cities.
"There is huge potential and demand (for data centers) that is expected in the next three to four years," Chitkara said at a virtual press conference.
Nxtra currently operates 10 large and 120 edge data centers or smaller data processing facilities across India.
The business plan also comes at a time when traditional voice services are facing new competition from free calling through apps like WhatsApp and Signal from Facebook (NASDAQ :).
A subsidiary of the US private equity group Carlyle bought 25% of the shares in Nxtra last year. Airtel still owns 75%.
Public cloud spending in India is projected to exceed $ 12 billion by 2025, says Naveen Mishra of the research firm gardener (NYSE 🙂 said.
Airtel's rival Reliance Jio, controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, forged an alliance with Microsoft (NASDAQ 🙂 to build data centers across India in 2019 and this year partnered with Google (NASDAQ 🙂 to expand its corporate and To improve consumer offers plans the introduction of 5G services.
Separately, Airtel said Nxtra will increase the use of green electricity for its data centers with the goal of getting 50% of its electricity needs from renewable sources.
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