MTN launches Microsoft backed business cloud service

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MTN and Microsoft have partnered to provide a hybrid cloud solution that will be serviced from MTN’s data centres.

Launched in Johannesburg today, with plans for a roll out in 23 other markets, the cloud solution will provide local hosting in 47 data centres across Africa according to MTN Business SA chief enterprise officer Alpheus Mangale.

“Our partnership is very unique. We have decided to partner with Microsoft, to use and make sure that our solutions are powered by the Azure platform. Microsoft has spent quite a lot of time developing it across the world and deployed it to multiple customers. We are going to be the powerhouse in partnership with Microsoft to enable the experience of Azure in the continent, not only in South Africa.”

Mangale listed benefits that include ‘pay as you use’, flexible billing determined by the capacity a customer has used, as well as the option to order more servers whenever the need arises.

“For customers that actually want to have a virtual cloud environment across the whole of the African continent, we can power that …but for customers that are sensitive about only maintaining the data within the confined countries we also have a solution to be able to do that powered by tier four data centres…regardless of what happens the data centre will stay up. The majority of our data centres can operate without reliance on the power grid.”

Microsoft SA MD Zoaib Hoosen said the company decided to partner with MTN because more of their local clients are embracing digital solutions and need something different that works for them from the cloud.

Hoosen and Mangale would not reveal how much money either party has invested in the partnership, but both emphasised the importance of partnering in order to serve businesses in all sectors of the economy.

“I’m excited about it. I think it spells out the ambition that the Microsoft corporation has in terms of adding value to its customers. We’ve always talked about cloud on your terms to our clients and this is a great example of running cloud on their terms…”

MTN South Africa CEO Mteto Nyati said that the partnership was inspired by the need to create new revenue streams following disappointing MTN Group results announced a few weeks ago.

“We did not perform very well at top line level. We grew our business minus 4.6 percent year-on-year and clearly if you look across the industry, you will find that almost all telcos are going through similar challenges…we want to be an end-to-end provider of ICT services, as MTN we are not there yet.”

SOURCE: itwebafrica