Bharti Airtel said it will invest $673 million in expanding its data centre business to meet customer demand in India.
Airtel Business chief executive Ajay Chitkara said its Nxtra unit will make the investment by 2025, with plans to build a data centre economy across 80 Indian cities, adding that the move will triple its installed capacity to more than 400 MW.
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 revenue streams to their business and lure enterprise clients who typically offer higher margins.
U.S. private equity group Carlyle last year bought a 25 percent stake in Nxtra. Airtel owns 75 percent.
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 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.
Airtel said Nxtra will increase the use of green energy for its data centres, aiming to source 50 percent of its power requirements from renewable sources.