By Bola Abbas
Lagos. October 24, 2012: Bharti Airtel, the Indian mobile phone giant and owners of Airtel Nigeria announced today that it has crossed a key milestone of its 60 millionth customer in Africa.
With its telecoms footprint straddling 20 countries across Asia and Africa, Airtel is celebrating its milestone on the vibrant telecoms market on the continent recently moved up one notch in global rankings to become the fourth largest mobile operator in the world in terms of subscribers.
The leading telecoms services provider added 10 million customers across its operations in 17 African countries in less than 12 months of having crossed 50 million subscribers, the company announced in a statement today promising to continue to foster innovation.
Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa says that, “since launching the Airtel brand in Africa in 2010, Airtel has been on a steady growth path.”
According to him, “the ability to communicate with each other is no longer a privilege on this continent, but a necessity. Airtel remains committed to ensuring that it continues to provide innovative and relevant communications solutions to all, which positively impacts as many lives as possible.”
Airtel says it has remained steadfastly committed to providing customers with telecoms services that make lives easier. Since celebrating its 50 millionth customer, the company says it has embarked on a journey to build the largest 3G network across Africa.
The company says that to date, it has rolled out its 3.75G network to 14 countries reaching speeds of up to 21 mbps and says its 3.75G network is one of the fastest available globally and will be immensely beneficial to large corporates, small and medium businesses and the youth.
Beyers adds that, “access to telecommunications plays a crucial role in driving economies within Africa. This includes access to both voice and data services. The biggest transformation on the continent is in bridging the digital divide and connecting the continent to the rest of the world; this remains Airtel’s commitment to the communities that we serve.”
With the recent launch in Madagascar and Burkina Faso, Airtel Money, Airtel’s mobile money platform, Airtel Money, is now live in 14 countries across Africa. The service allows communities to take maximum advantage of the mobile commerce reality sweeping through the industry by enabling them to conduct a range of financial transactions quickly, securely and easily, says Airtel.
The telecoms company says it has placed equal importance on reducing its carbon footprint as part of its commitment to the environment and has undertaken a series of ‘green’ initiatives that deliver tangible results.
Over the last year, Airtel says it has reduced the number of sites running solely on diesel by over 50 per cent through the use of innovative models such as a Hybrid Battery Bank. By 2013, the company aims to completely eradicate the constant use of diesel to power its network meaning that no site will rely solely on diesel power 24 hours a day.
Beyers says that, “as a global company we need to ensure that we stay committed to the long-term well-being of the environment in order to be truly successful and make a positive impact on the community. Reaching this goal will be a huge accomplishment for us, and we intend to do whatever it takes to ensure that we completely reduce our dependence on diesel power and instead focus on alternative forms of energy like solar power.”
Despite the company’s growing commercial success, Airtel says it remains focused on making a positive impact on the communities in which it operates. As part of this initiative, the telecoms company says it works with the respective Education Ministries in each country to identify schools in need of refurbishment and educational facilities in order to create a better learning environment for students. To date, the company has adopted 30 schools through its ‘Our School’ initiative across the continent, with plans to adopt up to 45 schools by April next year.
According to the company, earlier this year, the company also kicked off its second season of the Airtel Rising Stars tournament – Africa’s largest grassroots football tournament that aims to nurture and develop local talent from a grassroots to a national level. The tournament is supported by world-renowned football clubs, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Beyer says that though Airtel has already notched up significant milestones, it remains dedicated to marking more successes in Africa adding that, moving forward, the company is hoping to grow its subscriber base on the continent through maintaining a strong focus on rural penetration, innovation and customer responsiveness.