In a big win for Cisco, India’s Bharti Airtel announced it will expand its existing SD-WAN deal with the company to include managed SD-WAN and secure access service edge (SASE) architecture.
Airtel is one of the three largest mobile operators globally, and as of December 2020 it had more than 458 million customers. Airtel says it currently provides more than one million enterprises with connectivity solutions, and those will likely be the target for Cisco’s managed SD-WAN and SASE.
Airtel has an existing deal with Cisco, which was inked in 2019, that includes Cisco’s Viptela SD-WAN services. That deal was bundled with Cisco’s Webex conferencing platform. Cisco purchased Viptela in 2017 for $610 million and integrated the Viptela SD-WAN technology into its existing enterprise routing platforms.
Of this current deal, Airtel’s Ajay Chitkara, director and CEO of Airtel Business, said that the company’s collaboration with Cisco on the managed SD-WAN will help companies become more agile and digitalized.
The SD-WAN market is growing rapidly and extending into new areas, so it’s not surprising that the Airtel deal includes not just Cisco’s managed SD-WAN but also SASE, making it possible for enterprises to have access to just about any virtualized network service that can be stored in the cloud.
Research firm Futurium expects the SD-WAN market to reach $2.6 billion this year, $3.5 billion by 2022 and $4.6 billion by 2023.
Airtel isn’t Cisco’s only big telecom operator customer for its managed SD-WAN service. Verizon also sells Cisco’s managed SD-WAN to its enterprise clients as does Orange and Lumen.