Bharti Airtel has shortlisted three multinational firms and two home-grown information technology majors for its billion dollar-plus outsourcing in Africa, The Economic Times reported today citing two unnamed people with direct knowledge of the matter.
According to the report, IBM, which currently handles Bharti's IT for India and Sri Lanka, along with Hewlett Packard and Accenture, are among the multinational vendors that have made the shortlist. Also, Wipro and Tech Mahindra are the Indian vendors in the running for what could be one of the largest IT deals spread across 15 geographies in Africa.
''Both Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services are no longer in the race,'' said one of the sources. Another executive with direct knowledge of the development said that IBM, which was considered as the front-runner for the deal, was now facing stiff competition from the attractive terms and conditions offered by other IT firms in the fray.
This executive also added that business sense mandated that Bharti diversify its IT options as against ''putting all its eggs in one basket''. Bharti executives did not comment.
In April-end Bharti Airtel had invited 'request for information' or RFI to outsource operations worth over a billion dollars for African assets it acquired from Kuwait's Zain Telecom, suggesting it is looking for better deals than those being offered by its existing partners.
A number of IT firms had made presentations to Bharti Airtel's management in response to its RFI. Executives with leading IT firms who did not want to be named said that Bharti had issued a revised tender for its IT contract earlier this month because of reservations expressed by some vendors regarding a few terms and conditions, which they felt favoured the incumbent, IBM. But ET could not independently verify this.