Bharti Airtel said it will acquire 25% of a Bengaluru-based network software company for an undisclosed sum.
Lavelle Networks helps large enterprises and organizations create their own virtual networks spanning multiple physical networks.
“Software-defined wide area networking is the arsenal needed by enterprises to transform and future-proof their network infrastructure in the digital age,” Bharti Airtel said in its statement.
Citing a report by Frost & Sullivan, the company said the software-defined networking market is expected to grow at around 55% per year over the next five years in India.
Approximately 62% of enterprises plan to deploy SD-WAN throughout their organization within the next 1-2 years.
Traditionally, companies have relied on physically connecting their various offices using dedicated cabling or leased lines.
This was followed by Virtual Private Networks. Software-defined networks are an evolution of this concept and are much cheaper than physically connecting different locations to the same network, while offering greater flexibility than traditional VPNs.
“Some of the key drivers that would contribute to this phenomenal race include the need for seamless management of hybrid networks, faster deployment of new sites, and network profitability,” said Apalak Ghosh, Associate Director and Head of ICT, Frost & Sullivan South Asia.
Airtel said Lavelle Networks had connected several thousand Indian businesses from the country’s largest financial institutions to e-commerce networks.
“As more businesses migrate to cloud-based applications to serve their customers in a digitally driven ecosystem, they need reliable, on-demand network connectivity. As a result, there is an increase in demand for software-defined solutions that have the agility to serve a cloud-based hybrid IT environment,” he added.
The company’s flagship product is called ScaleAOn and was launched in 2016-2017.
The service will likely be offered as part of Airtel’s Network as a Service (NaaS), a virtual network solution for businesses.
“As part of its NaaS portfolio, Airtel will offer a software-defined connectivity solution from Lavelle Networks and co-create a host of innovations as part of its NaaS platform. It also aims to bring ‘Made in India’ products and solutions to businesses by offering state-of-the-art technology and cost savings,” the telecom operator said.
Shyamal Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Lavelle Networks, said his business expects to be “massively accelerated” by the Airtel partnership.
Apart from connectivity, Bharti Airtel also offers conferencing, cloud and data center, cybersecurity, IoT, Ad-tech, CPaaS (Airtel IQ) and other products to Indian companies, and is currently the market leader.