|Traded as||BSE: 532454 NSE: BHARTIARTL
BSE SENSEX Constituent
|Founded||7 July 1995|
|Founder(s)||Sunil Bharti Mittal|
|Headquarters||Bharti Crescent, 1, Nelson Mandela Road, New Delhi, India|
|Area served||India & South Asia, Africa, and the Channel Islands|
|Key people||Sunil Bharti Mittal
(Chairman and MD)
|Products||Fixed line and mobile telephony, broadband and fixed-line internet services, digital television and IPTV|
|Revenue||809.22 billion (US$13 billion) (2013-14)|
|Operating income||248.62 billion (US$4.1 billion) (2013-14)|
|Profit||22.67 billion (US$380 million) (2013-14)|
|Total assets||432.72 billion (US$7.2 billion) (2013-14)|
|Total equity||1273.7 billion (US$21 billion) (2013-14)|
|Parent||Bharti Enterprises (52.7%)
Airtel Digital TV
Airtel Sri Lanka
Bharti Airtel Limited, commonly known as Airtel, is an Indian multinational telecommunications services company headquartered in New Delhi, India. It operates in 20 countries across South Asia, Africa, and the Channel Islands. Airtel has a GSM network in all countries in which it operates, providing 2G, 3G and 4G services depending upon the country of operation. Airtel is the world's third largest mobile telecommunications company by subscribers, with over 275 million subscribers across 20 countries as of July 2013. It is the largest cellular service provider in India, with 192.22 million subscribers as of August 2013. Airtel is the Second largest in-country mobile operator by subscriber base, behind China Mobile.
Airtel is the largest provider of mobile telephony and second largest provider of fixed telephony in India, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services. It offers its telecom services under the "airtel" brand, and is headed by Sunil Bharti Mittal. Bharti Airtel is the first Indian telecom service provider to achieve Cisco Gold Certification. It also acts as a carrier for national and international long distance communication services. The company has a submarine cable landing station at Chennai, which connects the submarine cable connecting Chennai and Singapore.
Airtel is credited with pioneering the business strategy of outsourcing all of its business operations except marketing, sales and finance and building the 'minutes factory' model of low cost and high volumes. The strategy has since been copied by several operators. Its network—base stations, microwave links, etc.—is maintained by Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Network whereas IT support is provided by IBM, and transmission towers are maintained by another company (Bharti Infratel Ltd. in India). Ericsson agreed for the first time to be paid by the minute for installation and maintenance of their equipment rather than being paid up front, which allowed Airtel to provide low call rates of 1/minute (US$0.02/minute).
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate Structure
- 3 Worldwide presence
- 4 Mobile Services
- 5 Telemedia
- 6 Digital Television
- 7 Enterprise
- 8 International operations
- 9 Subscriber Base
- 10 One Network
- 11 Acquisitions and mergers
- 12 Joint ventures
- 13 Rebranding
- 14 Sponsorship
- 15 Signature tune
- 16 Green initiative
- 17 Timeline
- 18 See also
- 19 References
- 20 External links
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
Sunil Bharti Mittal founded the Bharti Group. In 1983, Mittal was in an agreement with Germany's Siemens to manufacture push-button telephone models for the Indian market. In 1986, Mittal incorporated Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL), and his company became the first in India to offer push-button telephones, establishing the basis of Bharti Enterprises. By the early 1990s, Sunil Mittal had also launched the country's first fax machines and its first cordless telephones. In 1992, Mittal won a bid to build a cellular phone network in Delhi. In 1995, Mittal incorporated the cellular operations as Bharti Tele-Ventures and launched service in Delhi. In 1996, cellular service was extended to Himachal Pradesh. In 1999, Bharti Enterprises acquired control of JT Holdings, and extended cellular operations to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In 2000, Bharti acquired control of Skycell Communications, in Chennai. In 2001, the company acquired control of Spice Cell in Calcutta. Bharti Enterprises went public in 2002, and the company was listed on Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange of India. In 2003, the cellular phone operations were rebranded under the single Airtel brand. In 2004, Bharti acquired control of Hexacom and entered Rajasthan. In 2005, Bharti extended its network to Andaman and Nicobar. This expansion allowed it to offer voice services all across India. In 2009, Airtel launched its first international mobile network in Sri Lanka. In 2010, Airtel acquired the African operations of the Kuwait-based Zain Telecom. In March 2012, Airtel launched a mobile operation in Rwanda. 
Airtel launched "Hello Tunes", a Caller ring back tone service (CRBT), in July 2004 becoming to the first operator in India to do so. The Airtel theme song, composed by A.R. Rahman, was the most popular tune on that year.
During the 2009–10 financial year, Bharti negotiated for its strategic partner Alcatel-Lucent to manage the network infrastructure for the tele-media business. On 31 May 2012, Bharti Airtel awarded the three-year contract to Alcatel-Lucent for setting up an Internet Protocol access network (mobile backhaul) across the country. This would help consumers access internet at faster speed and high quality internet browsing on mobile handsets.
On 26 February 2013, Airtel announced that it had deployed Ericsson's Mobile Broadband Charging (MBC) solution and completely modernised its prepaid services for its subscribers in India. As a part of the deal, Ericsson's multi service MBC suite allows prepaid customers to have personalised profile-based data charging plans. Prepaid customers will be able to customise their data plans across mobility, fixed line and broadband by cross bundling across multiple domains (2G, 3G, 4G/LTE & Wi-Fi). It will also offer flexible multi service charging in geographical redundant mode, making Airtel the first operator to implement geographical redundancy at such a large scale. In May 2013, Bharti Infotel paid Rs 50,000 as compensation to a customer "for unfair trade practices". The customer alleged that the company continued to aggressively demand payment despite customer requests for disconnection of service.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
Airtel's initial corporate structure concentrated on the hierarchy of the operations inside the company as a whole. The structure depicted the corresponding operation/region of different in-charges and it didn't hold anyone responsible for each of its services. So, the company found it better to restructure its corporate hierarchy. The transformed organisational structure has two distinct Customer Business Units (CBU) with clear focus on B2C (Business to Customer) and B2B (Business to Business) segments. Bharti Airtel's B2C business unit will comprehensively service the retail consumers, homes and small offices, by combining the erstwhile business units – Mobile, Telemedia, Digital TV, and other emerging businesses (like M-commerce, M-health, M-advertising etc.). The B2C organisation will consist of Consumer Business and Market Operations.
Airtel is the one of the largest mobile operator in the world in terms of subscriber base and has a commercial presence in 20 countries and the Channel Islands.
Its area of operations include:
- The Indian Subcontinent:
- Airtel Africa, which operates in 17 African countries:
- Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
- The British Crown Dependency islands of Jersey and Guernsey, under the brand name Airtel-Vodafone, through an agreement with Vodafone.
Airtel operates in the following countries:
|Bangladesh||Airtel Bangladesh||Airtel Bangladesh had about 8 million customers as on Sep 2013.|
|Burkina Faso||Airtel Burkina Faso||Airtel Burkina Faso is the dominant player with 1,433,000 customers representing 50% market share.|
|Chad||Airtel Chad||Airtel Chad is the No. 1 operator with 69% market share.|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Airtel DRC||Airtel is the market leader with almost 5 million customers at the end of 2010.|
|Gabon||Airtel Gabon||Airtel Gabon has 829,000 customers and its market share stood at 61%.|
|Ghana||Airtel Ghana||Airtel Ghana had about 1.76 million customers at the end of 2010.|
|India||Airtel||Airtel is the market leader with almost 193.4 million customers as on 30 Sep 2013.|
|Kenya||Airtel Kenya||Airtel Kenya is the second largest operator and has 4 million customers.|
|Madagascar||Airtel Madagascar||Airtel is the market leader in Madagascar with 39% market share and 2.5 million customers.|
|Malawi||Airtel Malawi||Airtel Malawi is the market leader with a market share of 72%.|
|Niger||Airtel Niger||Airtel Niger is the market leader with a 68% market share.|
|Republic of the Congo||Airtel Congo B||Airtel Congo is the market leader with a 55% market share.|
|Rwanda||Airtel Rwanda||Airtel launched services in Rwanda on 30 March 2012.|
|Seychelles||Airtel Seychelles||Airtel is the leading comprehensive telecommunications services providers with over 55% market share of mobile market in Seychelles.|
|Sierra Leone||Airtel Sierra Leone|
|Sri Lanka||Airtel Sri Lanka||Airtel Sri Lanka commenced operations on 12 January 2009. It had about 1.8 million mobile customers at the end of 2010.|
|Tanzania||Airtel Tanzania||Airtel Tanzania is the market leader with a 38% market share.|
|Uganda||Airtel Uganda||Airtel Uganda stands as the No. 2 operator with a market share of 38%.|
|Zambia||Airtel Zambia||Airtel Zambia is the market leader with 69% market share.|
|Channel Islands† : Jersey
|Airtel Jersey and Guernsey||Airtel operates in the Channel Islands under the brand name Airtel–Vodafone through an agreement with Vodafone.|
†Jersey and Guernsey are British Crown Dependencies. They are not independent countries. Therefore, Airtel's countries of operation is considered to be 20.
Airtel operates in all telecom circles of India. Its network is present in 5,121 census towns and 457,053 non-census towns and villages, covering approximately 86.6% of the country's population as of September 2012. Airtel is the largest operator in rural India with 83.82 million subscribers as of April 2013.
On 18 May 2010, the 3G spectrum auction was completed and Airtel paid the Indian government 122.95 billion (US$2.0 billion) for spectrum in 13 circles, the most amount spent by an operator in that auction. Airtel won 3G licences in 13 telecom circles of India: Delhi, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (West), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, North East, and Jammu & Kashmir. Airtel also operates 3G services in Maharastra & Goa and Kolkata circles through an agreement with Vodafone and in Gujarat through an agreement with Idea. This gives Airtel a 3G presence in 15 out of 22 circles in India. Airtel is fined by DoT 3.50 billion for not stopping offering 3G Services through Roaming Pacts outside its Licensed Zones in Seven Circles.
On 20 September 2010, Bharti Airtel said that it had given contracts to Ericsson India, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Huawei Technologies to set up infrastructure for providing 3G services in the country. These vendors would plan, design, deploy and maintain 3G–HSPA (third-generation, high-speed packet access) networks in 13 telecom circles where the company had won 3G licences. While Airtel awarded network contracts for seven 3G circles to Ericsson India, NSN would manage networks in three circles. Chinese telecom equipment vendor Huawei Technologies was introduced as the third partner for three circles.
On 24 January 2011, Airtel launched 3G services in Bangalore, Karnataka – its largest circle by revenue. With this launch, Airtel became the third private operator (fifth overall) to launch its 3G services in the country following Tata Docomo and Reliance Communications. On 27 January 2011, Airtel launched 3G in Chennai and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. On 27 July 2011, 3G services were launched in Kerala's 3 largest cities – Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
Airtel 3G services are available in 200 cities through its network and in 500 cities through intra-circle roaming arrangements with other operators. Airtel had about 5.4 million 3G customers of which 4 million are 3G data customers as of September 2012.
On 19 May 2010, the broadband wireless access (BWA) or 4G spectrum auction in India ended. Airtel paid 33.1436 billion (US$550 million) for spectrum in 4 circles: Maharashtra and Goa, Karnataka, Punjab and Kolkata. The company was allocated 20 MHz of BWA spectrum in 2.3 GHz frequency band. Airtel's TD-LTE network is built and operated by ZTE in Kolkata and Punjab, Huawei in Karnataka, and Nokia Siemens Networks in Maharashtra and Goa. On 10 April 2012, Airtel launched 4G services through dongles and modems using TD-LTE technology in Kolkata, becoming the first company in India to offer 4G services. The Kolkata launch was followed by launches in Bangalore (7 May 2012), Pune (18 October 2012), and Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula(Tricity)(Airtel broadband authorized Distributor in chandigarh) (25 March 2013). Airtel obtained 4G licences and spectrum in the telecom circles of Delhi, Haryana, Kerala and Mumbai after acquiring Wireless Business Services Private Limited, a joint venture founded by Qualcomm, which had won BWA spectrum in those circles in the 4G spectrum auction.
Airtel launched 4G services on mobile from February 2014. The first city to get the service was Bangalore. Airtel provides voice services for its TD-LTE subscribers through its existing GSM network, which made it the first operator in India to combine voice with TD-LTE services through GSM network. Airtel selected Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy its Circuit Switched FallBack (CSFB) voice solution in Airtel's TD-LTE network in Pune. With CSFB, the network can transfer customers to GSM platform to make and receive voice calls while retaining the TD-LTE network for data services.
Airtel had 100,000 4G subscribers as of January 2014.
Airtel has plans to launch WiFi services in India. It intends to start offering WiFi services in Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore in initial phase. All plans will be on secure wireless broadband internet with unlimited usage and will be session- or time-based. Users can use the service by finding a hotspot, selecting 'airtel WiFi Zone', activating the voucher and then login to start browsing.
Airtel intends to partner with establishments to set up hotspots which will be termed WiFi Hangout for an establishment owner and WiFi Partner for the café and restaurant owners. Airtel WiFi Partners can offer services at zero investments and can earn commission on every WiFi session sold.
Airtel has started a new mCommerce platform called Airtel Money in collaboration with Infosys and SmartTrust (now Giesecke & Devrient). The platform was launched on 5 April 2012, at Infosys' headquarters in Bangalore. Using Airtel Money, users can transfer money, pay bills and perform other financial transactions directly on the mobile phone. It has an all-India presence. Certain charges are levied per Airtel Money transaction.
SmartDrive is navigation app exclusive to Airtel customers. The app features voice-based turn by turn navigation, real time information update on traffic, approximate time of the travel on the basis of the traffic situation on the various routes and also lets users see their location on the map and plan the journey accordingly. It also suggests the subscriber an alternate route in case of traffic congestion on the normal route. According to Airtel, SmartDrive calculates the traffic on the basis of the number of GPS devices used on a particular road, their average speed, as well as historical trends of traffic on that route. SmartDrive also allows users to search for points of interest like restaurants, theatres and shopping malls. The app also allows users to keep a record of all trips they make when using voice navigation for later reference through the 'Trip Recorder' feature, Wikipedia information of places for which information is available and the ability to add frequently visited locations to favourites, in addition to weather information about the place.
Airtel will offer navigation at 10 per day or 99 per month. Live traffic will be cost 3 per day or 49 per month. Search and map viewer are available for free. The costs do not include data charges. Airtel states in SmartDrive's FAQ that data is only used when the user performs searches or calculates routes.
The app is developed by Wisepilot, a mobile navigation solutions provider and uses Navteq Maps for location and traffic info. It was launched on 12 September 2012. At the time of launch, it was available only in Bangalore, Mumbai and NCR. Services are currently available in Chennai. Service will be expanded to Pune and Hyderabad by December 2012.
Network Experience Centre
Airtel has a Network Experience Centre (NEC) which observes end to end customer experience, in near real time, along with the standard network elements on Airtel's operations. The NEC is located in Manesar, Haryana and went live on 31 October 2012. It is the first such facility in India and will be able to monitor Airtel's network performance across mobile, fixed line, broadband, DTH, M-Commerce, enterprise services, International Cable Systems and internet peering points from a single location. It will monitor all Airtel and partner NOCs. In case of an emergency, the NEC will enable the operator to prioritise actions to restore normalcy and reduce resolution time.
The NEC houses a video wall with 3600 square feet of solid state LED screen to monitor Airtel's telecom network. This is the world's biggest video wall for a telecom operator. Each cube in this wall is 1.6mx1.2 m and there are 175 cubes arranged in a 25x7 matrix. The clear span of the roof is 49 m x 18 m and the beams, which are fireproof and about 8 feet deep, have been specially designed to hold the structure without columns. The NEC was designed specifically to be used as a command center in case of national emergencies and natural catastrophes. The facility is earthquake proof and also provides for a single control of command and a fully redundant technology layout.
The iPhone 3G was rolled out in India in 2008 by Airtel. However, high prices and contract bonds discouraged consumers and it was not as successful as the iPhone is in other markets of the world. Airtel introduced the iPhone 4 on 27 May 2011 and the iPhone 5 on 2 November 2012.
Under the Telemedia segment, Airtel provides broadband internet access through DSL, internet leased lines as well as MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) solutions, as well as IPTV and fixed line telephone services. Until 18 September 2004, Bharti provided fixed line telephony and broadband services under the Touchtel brand. Bharti now provides all telecom services including fixed line services under a common brand airtel. As of September 2012, Airtel provides Telemedia services to 3.3 million customers in 87 cities. As on 30 November 2012, Airtel had 1.39 million broadband subscribers.
Airtel Broadband provides broadband and IPTV services. Airtel provides both capped as well as unlimited download plans. However, Airtel's unlimited plans are subject to free usage policy (FUP), which reduces speed after the customer crosses a certain data usage limit. In some plans, Airtel provides only 256kbit/s beyond FUP, which is lower than the TRAI specified limit of half the subscriber's original speed. The maximum speed available for home users is 16Mbit/s.
In May 2012, Airtel Broadband and some other Indian ISPs temporarily blocked file sharing websites such as vimeo.com megavideo.com, thepiratebay.se etc. with out giving any legal information to the customers. The block was due to a Madras High Court issued 'John Doe' order taken by Chennai-based Copyright Lab. In response to a petition filed by Vinay B, a resident of Shimoga, Karnataka, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ordered Airtel to pay 20,000 to the petitioner for "deficiency in internet service" thereby causing mental agony to the complainant. "By misinterpreting the Madras High Court order, Airtel blocked entire websites. It is needless to say that the company's actions amount to deficiency in service as well as unfair trade practice," said the forum.
The Digital TV business provides Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV services across India under the brand name Airtel digital TV. It started services on 9 October 2008 and had about 7.9 million customers at the end of December 2012.
The Enterprise business provides end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national and international long-distance services to telcos through its nationwide fibre optic backbone, last mile connectivity in fixed-line and mobile circles, VSATs, ISP and international bandwidth access through the gateways and landing stations. It has two sections under it.
Mobile data service
The different services under mobile data are BlackBerry services, a web-enabled mobile email solution working on 'Push Technology', USB modem that helps in getting instant access to Internet and corporate applications, Airtel Data Card that gives the liberty to access the internet anytime, Easy Mail is a platform that provides access to personal/corporate e-mails independent of handset operating system and application services that shorten the queues at the billing section, off-load the pressure on the billing staff and bring convenience to the user.
Enterprise business solutions
There are two kind of solutions offered by Airtel. One is GPRS Based Solutions like mobile applications tools for enterprise, TrackMate, automatic meter reading solutions etc. and the other is SMS Based Solutions like interactive sms, bulk sms, inbound call center solutions.
Beetel Teletech Ltd., a unit of Bharti Enterprises Ltd., on 18 August launched a 9,999 ($220) 7-inch tablet in India based on Google Inc.'s Android operating system. The offering is intended to capitalise on the expected demand for cheap computing devices in the world's fastest-growing and second-largest mobile phone market.
Airtel Africa is a subsidiary of Indian telecommunications company Airtel, that operates in 17 countries across Africa. It operates a GSM network in all countries, providing 2G or 3G depending upon the country of operation
In March 2010, Bharti struck a deal to buy the Kuwaiti firm's mobile operations in 15 African countries, in India's second biggest overseas acquisition after Tata Steel's $13 billion buy of Corus in 2007. Bharti Airtel completed its $9 billion acquisition of African operations from Kuwait's Zain, making the firm the world's No. 5 wireless carrier by subscribers.
On 11 August 2010, Bharti Airtel announced that it would acquire a 100% stake in Telecom Seychelles for US$62 million taking its global presence to 19 countries. Telecom Seychelles began operations in 1998 and operates 3G, Fixed Line, ship to shore services satellite telephony, among value added services like VSAT and Gateways for International Traffic across the Seychelles under the Airtel brand. The company has over 57% share of the mobile market of Seychelles. Airtel announced plans to invest US$10 million in its fixed and mobile telecoms network in the Seychelles over three years, whilst also participating in the Seychelles East Africa submarine cable (SEAS) project. The US$34 million SEAS project is aimed at improving the Seychelles' global connectivity by building a 2,000 km undersea high-speed link to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Airtel Bangladesh Ltd. is a GSM-based cellular operator in Bangladesh. Airtel is the sixth mobile phone carrier to enter the Bangladesh market, and originally launched commercial operations under the brand name "Warid Telecom" on 10 May 2007. Warid Telecom International LLC, an Abu Dhabi–based consortium, sold a majority 70% stake in the company to India's Bharti Airtel Limited for US$300 million.
Bharti Airtel made a fresh investment of US$300 million to rapidly expand the operations of Warid Telecom and have management and board control of the company. This is the largest investment in Bangladesh by an Indian company. Dhabi Group continues as a strategic partner retaining 30% shareholding and has its nominees on the Board of the Company.
Bharti Airtel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd is a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel Limited, the third largest mobile operator in the world, with over 240 million mobile customers as of December 2011. Bharti Airtel has been featured in Forbes Asia's Fab 50 list, rated amongst the best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list 2007, and voted as India's most innovative company in a survey by The Wall Street Journal
Airtel Lanka commenced commercial operations of services on 13 January 2009. Granted a licence in 2007 in accordance with the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act No. 25 of 1991, it is also a registered company under the Board of Investment Sri Lanka. Under the license, the company provides digital mobile services to Sri Lanka. This is inclusive of voice telephony, voice mail, data services and GSM-based services. All of these services are provided under the airtel brand.
Channel Islands: Jersey and Guernsey
On 1 May 2007, Jersey Airtel and Guernsey Airtel, both wholly owned subsidiaries of the Bharti Group, announced they would launch mobile services in the British Crown Dependency islands of Jersey and Guernsey under the brand name Airtel-Vodafone after signing an agreement with Vodafone. Airtel-Vodafone operates a 3G network in Jersey and Guernsey.
Bharti Airtel has about 243.336 million subscribers worldwide—232.95 million in India and South Asia and 50.949 million in Africa as of the end of December 2011. The numbers include mobile services subscribers in 19 countries and Indian Telemedia services and Digital services subscribers.
The Airtel wireless subscriber base according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as of November 2012 was:
- Andhra Pradesh – 18,041,904
- Gujarat – 6,927,459
- Karnataka – 16,044,964
- Maharashtra – 9,849,973
- Tamil Nadu – 10,094,293
- Haryana – 2,267,166
- Kerala – 3,393,868
- Madhya Pradesh – 9,675,239
- Punjab – 6,851,338
- Rajasthan – 14,385,762
- Uttar Pradesh (East) – 15,105,455
- Uttar Pradesh (West) – 6,556,052
- West Bengal – 9,084,371
- Assam – 3,809,218
- Bihar – 18,527,460
- Himachal Pradesh – 1,915,405
- Jammu and Kashmir – 2,300,268
- North East India (excluding Assam) – 2,551,134
- Orissa – 6,696,681
Airtel is the market leader in India with about 183 million wireless subscribers in India or about 20.62% market share at the end of November 2012. In 2013 version of the The Brand Trust Report published by Trust Research Advisory, Airtel is placed as the most trusted mobile operator brand in India.
One Network is a borderless mobile phone network across all Airtel operating countries which enables customers to move freely between the countries in which Airtel operates, and be treated as "virtual" local customers of the visited network in terms of pricing, while retaining their home network service functionality. It is the world's first free intercontinental incoming roaming service. Airtel customers in Africa not need to register for the One Network service or buy new SIM cards as the is enabled automatically. One Network allows customers travelling to One Network countries to make outgoing calls/SMS at the same rates as local customers and recharge with local top-up cards or with home network top up cards while using the same number and SIM. Receiving incoming calls is free.
Airtel offers the service currently to its Africa customers travelling to any of the following 27 countries. In 8 of these countries, the One Network is operated in partnership with other mobile operators. Airtel plans to extend the service to its South Asia customers soon.
|4||Channels Islands: Jersey and Guernsey||Airtel|
|5||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Airtel|
|14||Republic of the Congo||Airtel|
|26||South Africa||Cell C|
Acquisitions and mergers
MTN Group merger negotiations
In May 2008, it emerged that Airtel was exploring the possibility of buying the MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company with operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Financial Times reported that Bharti was considering offering US$45 billion for a 100% stake in MTN, which would be the largest overseas acquisition ever by an Indian firm. However, both sides emphasised the tentative nature of the talks. The Economist magazine noted, "If anything, Bharti would be marrying up", as MTN had more subscribers, higher revenues and broader geographic coverage. However, the talks fell apart as MTN Group tried to reverse the negotiations by making Bharti almost a subsidiary of the new company.
In May 2009, Airtel confirmed that it was again in talks with MTN and both companies agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively by 31 July 2009. Airtel said in a statement "Bharti Airtel Ltd is pleased to announce that it has renewed its effort for a significant partnership with MTN Group". The exclusivity period was extended twice up to 30 September 2009. Talks eventually ended without agreement and on 30 September 2009, Bharti released a statement saying that it had decided to disengage from discussions with the MTN Group when the exclusivity period ended. Informa analyst Matthew Reed, noted that a reported factor in the failure was South Africa's worry that control of MTN, which is perceived as a national champion, could pass into foreign hands. The South African government is MTN's biggest shareholder. Bharti said in a statement regarding the failure, "We hope the South African government will review its position in the future and allow both companies an opportunity to re-engage".
In March 2010, Bharti struck a deal to buy Zain's mobile operations in 15 African countries, in India's second biggest overseas acquisition after Tata Steel's $13 billion buy of Corus in 2007. Bharti Airtel completed its $10.7 billion acquisition of African operations from Kuwaiti firm, making the Airtel the world's fifth largest wireless carrier by subscriber base. Airtel has reported that its revenues for the fourth quarter of 2010 grew by 53% to US$3.2 billion compared to the previous year, newly acquired Zain Africa division contributed US$911 million to the total. However, net profits dropped by 41% from US$470 million in 2009 to US$291 million 2010 due to a US$188 million increase in radio spectrum charges in India and an increase of US$106 million in debt interest.
On 11 August 2010, Bharti Airtel announced that it would acquire 100% stake in Telecom Seychelles for US$62 million taking its global presence to 19 countries. Telecom Seychelles began operations in 1998 and operates 3G, Fixed Line, ship to shore services satellite telephony, among value added services like VSAT and Gateways for International Traffic across the Seychelles under the Airtel brand. The company has over 57% share of the mobile market of Seychelles. Airtel announced plans to invest US$10 million in its fixed and mobile telecoms network in the Seychelles over three years, whilst also participating in the Seychelles East Africa submarine cable (SEAS) project. The US$34 million SEAS project is aimed at improving the Seychelles' global connectivity by building a 2,000 km undersea high-speed link to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Wireless Business Services Private Limited
On 24 May 2012, Airtel announced an agreement to acquire a 49% stake in Wireless Business Services Private Limited (WBSPL) at an investment of 907 crore (US$165 million). Airtel bought 26% in WBSPL from Global Holding Corporation and Tulip Telecom and the balance 23% by subscribing to fresh equity of Qualcomm. Global Holding Corporation and Tulip Telecom had bought 13% each in the BWA entities for US$57.72 million (about 2.68 billion) in 2010. WBSPL was a joint venture founded by Qualcomm, and held BWA spectrum in the telecom circles of Delhi, Haryana, Kerala and Mumbai. Qualcomm had spent US$1 billion to acquire BWA spectrum in those 4 circles. The deal gave Airtel a 4G presence in 8 circles. At the time of purchasing the BWA spectrum, Global Holding Corp and Tulip Telecom had a 13% stake each in the company, while Qualcomm Asia Pacific had the remaining 74% stake. Qualcomm Asia Pacific gradually reduced its stake to 6.55%, while Airtel acquired a 93.45% stake. On 4 July 2013, Airtel announced that it had acquired an additional 2% equity share capital (making its stake 51%) in all the four BWA entities of Qualcomm, thereby making them its subsidiaries. On 18 October 2013, Airtel announced that it had acquired 100 percent equity shares of WBSPL for an undisclosed sum, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.
As per a five-year managed services agreement signed recently[when?], Ericsson will manage and optimise Airtel's mobile networks in Africa. Ericsson will modernise and upgrade Airtel's mobile networks in Africa with the latest technology including its multi standard RBS 6000 base station. As part of the modernisation, Ericsson will also provide technology consulting, network planning & design and network deployment. Ericsson has been the managed services and network technology partner in the Asian operations.
On 18 November 2010, Airtel rebranded itself in India in the first phase of a global rebranding strategy. The company unveiled a new logo with 'airtel' written in lower case. Designed by London-based brand agency, The Brand Union, the new logo is the letter 'a' in lowercase, with 'airtel' written in lowercase under the logo. On 23 November 2010, Airtel's Africa operations were rebranded to 'airtel'. Sri Lanka followed on 28 November 2010 and on 20 December 2010, Warid Telecom rebranded to 'airtel' in Bangladesh.
On 9 May 2009 Airtel signed a major deal with Manchester United. As a result of the deal, Airtel gets the rights to broadcast the matches played by the team to its customers.
Bharti Airtel signed a five-year deal with ESPN Star Sports to become the title sponsor of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament. But now the deal is terminated and karbon is sponsoring Champions League Twenty20 cricket.
The signature tune of Airtel is composed by Indian musician A. R. Rahman. The tune became hugely popular and is the world's most downloaded mobile music with over 150 million downloads. A. R. Rahman along with Anu Malik has re-used the same tune in Kannada movie titled Love. A new version of the song was released on 18 November 2010, as part of the rebranding of the company. This version too was composed by Rahman himself.
- GreenTowers P7 program
Bharti Infratel is the only telecom tower company, which has installed almost 3 MWT of solar capacity on their network, generating more than 5 million units of electricity every year. The Green Towers P7 program is scoped for 22,000 tower sites (primarily rural areas having low or no Grid Power availability) out of which 5,500 sites have already been implemented in the first year as a part of this 3-year program. Once completed, the initiative will reduce diesel consumption by 66 million litres per year with a significant carbon dioxide reduction of around 150,000 MT per year. Bharti Infratel bagged the 2011 'Green Mobile Award ' at the GSMA Mobile World Congress at Barcelona and was also awarded the 2010 innovative infrastructure company of the year award at the CNBC Infrastructure Awards for this groundbreaking initiative. Bharti remains the first company in the world to introduce the practice of sharing of passive infrastructure by collaborating with their competition to share mobile towers and to reduce the collective carbon footprint of the industry. This has become a subject of case studies in institutions including the Harvard Business School.
- Energy Conservation
The company has installed solar hot water generator at its main campus in Gurgaon for fulfilling the hot water requirement in the cafeteria. Majority of its facilities across NCR region are now equipped with LES (Lighting Energy Savers) which have reduced energy consumption in the lighting system to the tune of 10–25%. Variable Frequency Drives installed in AHU (Air Handling Unit) at its campus have helped in enhancing the efficiency of cooling system by 10%. These measures have resulted in a total saving of 850,000 units of electricity per year.
Airtel has embarked upon technology related initiatives like virtualisation of servers that has helped it release over 500 CPUs. Also the drive of sending e-bills to the post-paid customers is helping save 12,840 trees annually. Within its campus the 'Secure Print Solution' – an automated queue management–based secured printing solution has led to an annualised saving of about 8 metric tonnes of paper.
- Alternative energy sources such as solar energy used at 1050 sites saving 6.9 mn litres of diesel and approximately 280 million.
- Energy efficiency measures such as Integrated Power Management Systems and variable speed DC generators have resulted in reduction in the rate of diesel consumption by 1.2 million litres, leading to savings of 47 million across 900 sites.
- Demand side management like Free cooling Units (FCU) instead of air conditioners has been implemented across 3400+ sites, saving consumption of 4.1 million litres of diesel.
The chronology of events since Bharti Tele-Ventures was incorporated in 1995:
- Bharti Cellular launched cellular services as "AirTel" in Delhi.
- On 19 October 2004, Airtel announced the launch of a BlackBerry Wireless Solution in India. The launch is a result of a tie-up between Bharti Tele-Ventures Limited and Research in Motion (RIM).
- On 18 May 2010, Airtel won 3G spectrum in 13 circles: Delhi, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (West), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir for 122.95 billion.
- Bharti Airtel wins broadband spectrum in four circles: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Kolkata for 33.14 billion.
- On 18 November 2010, Bharti Airtel announced a re-branding campaign wherein, they would be referred as airtel, with a new logo.
- On 20 December 2010, Airtel launched its new identity for Bangladesh subscribers.
- On 23 December 2010, Airtel opened its first underground terrestrial fibre optic cable built in alliance with China Telecom.
- On 24 January 2011, Airtel announced the launch of its 3G services in India.
- On 31 January 2011, Airtel launched wallet service – Airtel Money in the millennium city of Gurgaon.
- On 18 February 2011, Airtel Digital TV brings cricket world cup in High Definition.
- On 14 March 2011, Bharti Airtel announced the launch of 'Airtel Broadband TV'.
- On 11 April 2011, Bharti Airtel and Apple bring the iPhone 4 to India.
- On 18 April 2011, Bharti Airtel enters into a partnership with photo service Zoomin.com.
- On 17 May 2011, Airtel launches the world’s first USSD-based Facebook access service in India – Facebook by Fonetwish.
- On 2 June 2011, Bharti Airtel offers on-demand online movie viewing services – launches 'Airtel Movies'
- On 16 June 2011, Airtel digital TV launches iKisaan – the world's first interactive service in Hindi.
- On 27 June 2011, Airtel 3G launches international video calling services.
- On 7 July 2011, Bharti Airtel announces new organisation structure for its India and South Asia operations.
- On 18 July 2011, Airtel digital TV adds 41 new channels.
- On 25 July 2011, Bharti Airtel Launches Facebook For Every Phone.
- On 16 August 2011, Wide availability of Airtel Service Centers in Rajasthan creates easy touch points for customer service.
- On 19 September 2011, Bharti Airtel announces GO! GO! GOAL Contest 2011.
- On 22 September 2011, Airtel digital TV brings the TV series "Johnny Test" to India.
- On 26 September 2011, Airtel Youth Star kicks off 'Friends Dance Carnival' in Andhra Pradesh.
- On 28 October 2011, 2011 Formula 1 Airtel Grand Prix of India Winner's Trophy Revealed.
- On 1 November 2011, Airtel digital TV now has 11 True HD channels, Expands total channel count to 262.
- On 11 November 2011, Bharti Airtel named amongst the top 25 companies for leaders globally.
- On 25 November 2011, Mr. Sharlin Thayil, CEO – Bharti Airtel, AP launches iPhone 4S in Hyderabad.
- On 1 December 2011, Airtel introduces India's first free mobile access to Twitter.
- On 12 December 2011, Bharti Airtel recognised for the delivery of best network services with customer focus at Telecom Centre of Excellence Awards.
- On 21 December 2011, Airtel launches exciting recharge offers for mobile customers in Rajasthan.
- On 11 January 2012, Airtel launched Comedy FM on Airtel Mobile.
- On 12 January 2012, Airtel launches all new "BBM Plan" for its postpaid mobile customers on BlackBerry.
- On 23 January 2012, Airtel prepaid mobile recharge made easier with netbanking at www.airtel.in
- On 30 January 2012, Airtel digital TV launches iKidsworld.
- On 2 February 2012, Airtel launched Vh1 Radio GAGA powered by Hungama on Airtel Mobile.
- On 3 February 2012, India's largest collection of Hello Tunes is now available online for Airtel mobile customers.
- On 4 February 2012, Bharti Airtel announces consolidated IFRS results for the third quarter and nine months ended 31 December 2011.
- On 10 February 2012, Bharti Airtel launched 3 Pack Education Portal for its mobile customers across India.
- On 27 February 2012, Bharti Airtel selects Infosys as its technology partner for airtel money.
- On 29 February 2012, Bharti Airtel appoints Nokia Siemens Networks to supply, manage 4G network in Maharashtra.
- On 27 May 2012, Bharti Airtel announced its strategic foray into the mobile advertising (m-Advertising) segment, in India.
- In 2012, Bharti Airtel signed a pact with Opera Software, to provide its customers with Opera Mini browsers.
- On 24 October 2012, Bharti Airtel's mobile user base in Africa crosses 60 million.
- On 4 February 2013, Bharti Airtel launches its emergency alert service in eastern region In 2013 the department of telecommunications (DoT) was investigating Bharti Airtel for violations of a license agreement the company violated between 2003 and 2005.
- On 18 February 2014, Bharti Airtel said it has signed a "strategic agreement" to acquire Loop Mobile's three million subscribers and its 2G network comprising over 2,500 cell sites and optic fibre in the financial capital, subject to regulatory approvals. Together with its existing 4.3 million users, Bharti Airtel would replace Vodafone India – with 7.1 million users – as the No. 1 in Mumbai by subscribers. It would, however, continue to trail Vodafone in revenue market share —around 27% to nearly 36%
- On 2 April 2014, Bharti Airtel renewed its infrastructure and application management contract with IBM for five years.
India's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel acquired Loop Mobile that has mobile network only in Mumbai circle. With this acquisition, Bharti becomes the top operator with seven million subscribers followed by Vodafone with 6.8 million subscribers.
- Bharti Enterprises
- Airtel Africa
- Airtel Bangladesh
- Airtel Sri Lanka
- Airtel digital TV
- Airtel Football
- Airtel Super Star Awards
- Airtel Super Singer
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