How Is Airtel Africa Floating Airtel’s Boat?

How Is Airtel Africa Floating Airtel's Boat?

India’s second largest mobile network operator – Bharti Airtel is much more than what it seems in India. Do you know that more than 25% of its revenue comes from operations of Airtel Africa and its Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is ~25% more than that of India. Well, if this data sparked any curiosity, a lot more is yet to unfold in this story. And by the way, the lesser known Airtel Africa’s operations are a sigh of relief for the company in the disrupting telecom market of India. How? Let’s find out.

Crux of the Matter

The Wide Range Of Airtel
In addition to its presence in India, Airtel’s operations are heavily concentrated in Africa as well. Below is the detail for the same.

About Airtel Africa

  • Headquartered: London, UK
  • Region of Operations: Majorly in East, Central and West Africa.
  • Most Profitable Unit: Airtel Nigeria (contributes to about 50% of Airtel Africa’s EBITDA).
  • Services Availed: Mobile Voice | Mobile Data | Airtel Money.

Journey So Far

  • 2010: Started its African operations by acquiring Zain Telecom which was spread across 36 million subscribers and 15 nations.
  • Acquired Telecom Seychelles Ltd.
  • 2012: Launched operations in Rwanda.
  • 2013: Expanded footprint in Uganda and Congo via Warid Telecom Uganda and Warid Congo SA respectively.
  • 2015: Gained market share in Kenya by acquiring yuMobile – Former subsidiary of Essar Telecommunications, Kenya.
  • 2017: Entered into a JV with Millicom International Cellular for the Ghana market.
  • 2018: Acquired Tigo Rwanda – subsidiary of Millicom.

Here’s a quick infographic that gives us a macro picture of Airtel Africa’s operations.

Let us look at some quick statistics on Airtel’s India and Africa’s operations.

Author’s Note

  • The BCG matrix in the previous slide shows that Airtel Africa is acting as a cushion for Airtel India so as to stop the latter from losing its market share.
  • More than 25% of Bharti Airtel’s revenue comes from its African operations.
  • Airtel Africa’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is 25-30% more than that of India’s.
  • As Financial Express once famously put, As Bharti Airtel bleeds in India, Africa sends band-aid with love.”
  • Airtel Africa indeed seems a witty silent player strongly holding Bharti Airtel’s fort.

Read about the history of Airtel here.

  • In November 2016, Airtel Payments Bank became India’s first Payments Bank. It is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
  • Sunil Bharti Mittal is the founder of Airtel, India’s second largest telecom operator. In 2016, he became the chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce.
  • Sunil Mittal’s son, Kavin Mittal founded the now-defunct Hike Messenger.

India To Receive 5G Connectivity By The End Of 2021

India to Receive 5G Connectivity By the End of 2021

On 8th December 2020, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) and announced the rollout of 5G internet connectivity all over India by the end of 2021. Let us take a look into the details.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Indian Mobile Congress?
Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) is the largest forum for digital technologies in India and South Asia. It was inaugurated in 2017. It consists of a three-day international conference and a technology exhibition. The event is envisioned to be the “leading platform for India’s start-up and technology ecosystem”.

Indian Mobile Congress 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the IMC on 8th December via video conference. He emphasized on India’s digital technology push and stated that the nation is emerging as the most preferred place for mobile manufacturing and that India has the lowest mobile tariff with the fastest growing app market.

The managing director and Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani added to the PM’s ‘Four Keynotes’ and said that Jio will launch 5G by the end of 2021. Ambani emphasized that the government needs to adopt key policy steps that will aid in spreading connectivity to over 300 million underprivileged individuals across India. Ambani added that similar policy intervention from the government will be key to the robust deployment of next-generation 5G connectivity in India.

Ambani added that “Jio will also invest and financially support those startups which have the potential to address India’s big needs in agriculture, healthcare, education and skill development which will boost the creation of new livelihood.” He also believes that India is ready to turn into a semiconductor manufacturing hub and therefore attract more investment from technology giants across the world.

PM Modi added that India is planning to provide high-speed internet connectivity in the next three years with high-speed fiber-optic connectivity and that Andaman and Nicobar Islands had already been linked up with fiber optic cable.

“The future holds great potential with rapid technological progress. We need to work together to ensure a timely rollout of 5G to leapfrog into the future and empower millions of Indians.”

PM Narendra Modi during the IMC

Organization And Theme Of IMC
IMC 2020 was organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). The theme of IMC 2020 was “Inclusive Innovation – Smart, Secure, Sustainable” and aimed to promote Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Various ministries, telecom CEOs, global CEOs, and domain experts in 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Data Analytics, Cloud and Edge computing, Blockchain, Cyber-security, Smart Cities, and Automation attended the IMC 2020.

  • The GSM Association is an industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide. More than 750 mobile operators are full GSMA members and a further 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem are associate members.
  • MWC Barcelona (Mobile World Congress) is an annual trade show organized by GSMA (GSM Association), dedicated primarily to the mobile communications industry. GSMA has extended the MWC brand to two other trade shows in Shanghai and Los Angeles, but the brand remains most synonymous with the Barcelona event.
  • The Internet of things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.

Does India’s Telecom Market Have A New Leader To Offer?

Recent reports by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) show that in the month of July, both, Airtel and Jio gained users lost by Vi (formerly Vodafone-Idea). Currently, Jio has highest number of total users in India but in terms of active users Airtel and Jio have almost similar numbers. Also, Jio’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) was lower than Airtel’s and Vi’s in the July-Sept quarter of 2020. Let’s have a close look at this battle for the top position in the telecom market with the help of some numbers.

Crux of the Matter

Before we delve into the numbers of individual companies, let us have a look at how the subscriber base looks like.

Including both the active and inactive users, Jio tops the list of highest market share with ~40.1 crore subscribers. Have a look at the complete breakdown below:

The story gets interesting here onwards. Airtel and Vi, both lost users in the month of June, whereas Jio gained many of them. However, in the month of July, only Vi lost consumers, whereas, as also can be seen in the chart below, Airtel and Jio both seem to gain Vi’s lost users.

Well, yes Airtel is gaining momentum and and catching up with the telecom leader Jio. but here is something to spice up that narrative. Although Jio has the highest number of total users (inactive + active), there is not much difference between the active users of Jio and Airtel.

What is ARPU?
Average revenue per user (ARPU) is one of the metrics used to measure how a telecom company is performing. Simply, it is the average revenue the telecom generates from its user. It is calculated by dividing the total revenue by number of subscribers. The race to the top between Jio and Airtel intensifies in another facet as Airtel reported a higher ARPU than Jio in the July-September quarter of 2020. Have a look at the infographic below.

Read More: Understanding AGR Dispute And India’s Changing Telecoms Industry

  • The concept of SMS was developed in the Franco-German GSM Cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. Then it was necessary to limit the length of the messages to 128 bytes (later improved to 160 seven-bit characters).
  • Telephone phobia is a fear of using telephones. People who suffer from this usual text or email their contacts
  • The very first phone call was “Watson come here, I want you!” It was made on March 10 1876 in Boston, Massachusetts, between Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas A. Watson
  • The world’s most popular phone is the Nokia 1100, a basic GSM Candybar launched in 2003. Over 250 million 1100s have been sold.
  • In 2019, the Ministry of Communications decided to merge MTNL with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Revival package includes monetizing assets, raising funds, TD-LTE spectrum, voluntary retirement scheme for employees

A Glass That Lets You Feel ‘Mixed Reality’ Launched By Jio

A Glass That Lets You Feel 'Mixed Reality' Launched By Jio

As Reliance Jio launches its own smart glasses this week in its 43rd Annual General Meeting, the Indian consumers are eager to know how it will give them an all new video-calling experience. What is Mixed Reality? How is it different from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality? What are the special features of Jio Glass? Let’s give it an Indian once-over!

Crux of the Matter

What is Jio Glass?
It is a Mixed Reality (MR) enabled smart glass that lets users connect with the world around them virtually. Jio Glass’ main aim is to enhance video conferences and regular video call experiences by making them more interactive by using 3D avatars and holographic content.

Jio Glass demo for office meetings, Source: DH

Understanding VR, AR, MR, XR
Virtual Reality (VR) :

  • It lets you travel to different places in the world.
  • Immerses users in a completely, artificial, or digital or virtual environment generated by a computer/device.
  • Eg: 360-degree videos on YouTube
The Google Cardboard lets you see a 3D panaroma, Source: YCA

Augmented Reality (AR) :

  • It brings things to you in the most realistic way possible.
  • Enhances the real world with virtual objects.
  • Eg: The immensely popular mobile game Pokemon Go, wherein users could ‘catch’ Pokemons in Pokeballs by navigating through maps and ‘spotting’ them on their screens, in real places.
You see what others can’t, Source: DAO

Mixed reality (MR) :

  • An extension of AR, it lets both the real and virtual world objects interact with each other.
  • Eg: Ford tests prototype vehicles in a virtual environment via Microsoft HoloLens while giving real-time understanding of each part and it’s working to dealers and employees.

Extended Reality (XR)
Also called cross reality or X-reality, it is an umbrella term used to include all aspects of AR, VR and MR that would be extended and put to the best use in the future.

An Indian School Already Knows Its Importance!
A classroom in Kerala’s AEM, AUP school in Malappuram district has started using AR from earlier this year, to make learning more fun for the kindergarten students.

Shyam Vengalloor, a social science teacher says it just took two months to make all these online classes. Using GIF images and a green screen along with a couple of apps, he has succeeded in creating a virtual class by superimposing both graphics and sound.

Seeing his efforts and how kids started enjoying lessons when huge planets, animals etc. started popping next to their teachers, other schools across Kerala want to try the same.

  • Upcoming launch event of the latest device by Oneplus, Oneplus Nord, is said to be the world’s first AR smartphone launch. OnePlus, Vivo, Oppo, and Realme are all owned by a Chinese smartphone manufacturer BBK Electronics.
  • Niantic, Inc. is an American software development company based in San Francisco. Niantic is best known for developing the augmented reality mobile games Ingress, Pokémon Go, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The company was formed as Niantic Labs in 2010 as an internal startup within Google.
  • The first immersive mixed reality system that provided enveloping sight, sound, and touch was the Virtual Fixtures platform, which was developed in 1992 at the Armstrong Laboratories of the United States Air Force. The project demonstrated that human performance could be significantly amplified, by overlaying spatially registered virtual objects on top of a person’s direct view of a real physical environment.