Airtel considering merger of Africa and India operations

Posted on October 14, 2012 11:45 am

India’s largest mobile network operator by revenue and customers Bharti Airtel, has this morning been said to be considering planning restructuring by combining its African and Indian operations into a single business entity under a global CEO. This comes barely less than three years after it entered lucrative Africa market after the company acquired Zain’s operations in that region in 2010.According to my source,under the new structure, the chief executives of India and Africa will report to the global CEO.The Airtel executive who happens to be a close friend of mine also confirmed to me its true that Bharti Airtel is working with leading consultants to extend its ‘One Airtel’ concept to geographies of Africa in a structure that is expected to be discussed by the board early next year. Bharti Airtel is the world’s fourth-largest telco company by customers and has two separate units of Africa where it has operations in 17 countries and South Asia and India. While to my source it was clear that implementing this across all regions will enable the Airtel create a new organizational structure that will revolve around consumer unlike the current situation where its based on many businesses.

One Airtel, which is aimed at bringing synergies and cutting costs, could also part of a larger game plan that will see Airtel transformation from a voice oriented model to one that is focused on data and lifestyle offerings which I have a feeling may work very well for the growing African markets of East Africa especially in countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The new move could also be Bharti Airtel next big thing as was the case when it famously created a business strategy of outsourcing key functions and building models that they call ‘minutes factory’ of low cost and high volumes, a concept that has since been copied by western and emerging markets telecom operators. Proposed new organizational structure could also see global heads of key functions such as marketing, IT, finance and sourcing as well as procurement reporting to the global CEO and my source confirmed that Airtel has already taken steps in this direction.


Contador Harrison