Airtel expands African mobile money service

The African subsidiary of Indian operator group Bharti Airtel has extended its mobile money transfer service across the 17 African markets it operates in. Airtel Africa’s subscribers will be able to send and receive money transfers over the operator’s network, which will be connected to a community of mobile network operators, and money transfer organisations, through the HomeSend hub.

We need a $50 tablet says Bharti Airtel chairman

Sunil Mittal, chairman and MD of Bharti Airtel said that India and Africa need a $50 tablet in order to spur adoption of mobile technologies. Speaking at a conference session at MWC, Mittal called on the industry to focus on bringing the cost of smartphones and tablets down to those of feature phones.

Bharti Airtel awards 3G contracts to Ericsson, Huawei, NSN

Indian operator Bharti Airtel has selected Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy HSPA networks in the 13 regions where Airtel has licenses. Seven telecom regions have been awarded to Ericsson and three each to Huawei and Nokia Siemens. The financial value of the contracts have not been disclosed.

IBM scores IT outsourcing deal from Bharti in Africa

Information technology giant IBM made its presence known in the African telecoms market on Friday, having scored a deal with Bharti Airtel to manage the carrier’s technology and services across 16 countries and around 72 million users.

Orascom, MTN call off acquisition talks

Egyptian carrier Orascom, run by billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris, said this week that it has called off discussions with regional powerhouse MTN.

Investing in Africa tip nine: Expect market consolidation

It is inevitable that the African market will go through a period of consolidation. Governments have distributed new mobile licenses liberally and profited as a result. So too have the consumers in most markets. Competition has led to a greater choice of provider and lower pricing, although not necessarily high quality.

Investing in Africa tip eight: Build a distinct brand

Mobile operators in Africa are fortunate. Unlike in some of the world’s more developed markets, trust and familiarity are associated with many operators. The very fact that in many cases the mobile handset has empowered individuals means that mobile consumers often have a great affinity with the mobile operator brand.

Investing in Africa tip six: Build on potential of WiMAX

Globally the prospects for WiMAX may have dimmed somewhat in the past couple of years, partly as a result of the strong growth of HSPA, which is often seen as a rival to WiMAX, and partly as a result of a lost appetite for network spending. But Africa still offers WiMAX technology a home.

Investing in Africa tip five: Maximise mobile data potential

There is substantial opportunity for growth in mobile data services in Africa. Demand for data services is great and the arrival of new undersea cables should remove some of the bottleneck created by Africa’s lack of international connectivity. The fact is that this demand will be met mainly by wireless rather than wireline connections.

Investing in Africa tip four: Create network sharing agreements

There is some visibility of network sharing in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, but in general, the model in Africa remains limited. Generally an operator-led initiative, most of Africa’s mobile operators remain tight-lipped when it comes to network sharing, unwilling to give away any competitive advantage.

How Bharti will tackle Africa’s challenges

Emerging markets giant Zain has announced the $10.7bn sale of its African operations to Indian carrier Bharti Airtel, in a landmark deal that could transform Africa’s competitive landscape. In this video Informa principal analyst Nick Jotischky discusses Bharti’s first moves in the region.

Investing in Africa tip three: Focus on operational delivery by outsourcing

As long as its partner relationships are sound, the operator should be able to focus on what a growing number of providers see as being core to operational success (customer, financial, regulatory and brand management). It is these factors that will drive strategy and ensure that pricing levels are competitive, the distribution model is robust and efficient, and that an operator’s products and service portfolio meets the needs and demands of its customers.