Airtel Invests in AI Startup

Airtel is strategically investing in new startups to increase its service quality and revenue. In return, new startups get a platform to explore and expand from the wide range of experience Airtel has. The telco even recorded a rise in Average Revenue Per User, which is a critical measure in the telecom sector.

Crux of the Matter

Telcos’ Modern Warfare: AI
Airtel invested in conversational artificial intelligence (AI) technologies based startup Voicezen. Voicezen is working on developing advanced solutions that leverage machine learning, speech to text, AI, and voice technologies to offer real-time analytics to provide better customer services. Even Vodafone launched VIC, AI-powered digital customer service, and support virtual assistant. Reliance Jio is also working on natural language processing and AI-based chatbot developed by startups like Reverie and Haptik.

Airtel’s Strategic Investments
Airtel’s Startup Accelerator Programme aims to support the startup ecosystem contributing to Digital India. Startups get the benefit from Airtel’s online and offline distribution network, deep market understanding, the ecosystem of global strategic partners, and advisory services from Airtel’s executive team.

Today, early-stage startups in India have some very exciting ideas but face multiple challenges in scaling up. With Airtel’s scale and digital capabilities around distribution and payments, we have the potential to drive accelerated growth of emerging startups that are solving hard problems.

Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer of Bharti Airtel

So far Airtel has invested in three startups i.e. Voicezen, Vahan Inc., and Spectacom. Vahan focuses on developing the online platform dedicated to finding blue-collar jobs in India. Whereas, Airtel is helping Spectacom to spread awareness about its health and fitness platform and soon-to-be-launched fitness platform ‘X sport’ similar to the ‘Airtel X stream’ platform. Telcos seem to be collaborating with Tech firms to increase revenue and improve customer services. In recent, Reliance Jio has announced a series of deals with Tech giants or Investors backing tech firms.

Airtel Preparing for Big?
Recent Airtel’s deal with Nokia is expected to lay the foundation of 5G for it. 6.4 billion subscribers of Nokia will help Airtel to expand and enhance its capacity and revenue.

Even AI market size is expected to grow from $4.2 billion in 2019 to $15.7 billion by 2024. Increased working efficiency with the accuracy of AI is a major factor in the increase in its demand across the globe.

Airtel’s Jan-Mar quarter revenue grew by 15% YoY to ₹23,723 crores from ₹20,602 crores compared to last year. Currently Airtel’s average revenue per user is ₹154 which is higher than Jio’s ARPU of ₹130.6.

  • Sunil Bharti Mittal is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor. And as of April 2020, he is listed as the 6th richest person in India by Forbes with a net worth of $8.2 billion.
  • The world’s sixth-largest mobile messaging application Hike Messenger was launched on 12 December 2012 by Kavin Bharti Mittal and is now owned by Hike Private Limited. Kavin Bharti Mittal is the son of Sunil Mittal, founder of Bharti Enterprise.
  • Airtel is one of the largest mobile network operators in the world with over 400 million subscribers. Airtel was named India’s 2nd most valuable brand in the first-ever Brandz ranking by Millward Brown and WPP plc.