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.
- 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.