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How Airtel Africa Has Grown to 110 Million Customer-base Since It Acquired Zain In 2010


Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel is celebrating its 10-year presence in Africa, where it operates in 14 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

Bharti Airtel established its presence in Africa when it acquired Zain Telecom’s Africa operations in June 2010 and prides itself of over 110 million customers across the continent.

Recently, the company was listed on the London and Nigerian stock exchanges.

Airtel Africa employs more than 3,300 people across Africa, with another 1.6 million people earning through working with Airtel Africa as entrepreneurs and in its distribution network.

Read: Airtel Geared for Fresh Price Wars With Safaricom

At the time it acquired Zain Group (formerly Mobile Telecommunications Group) in 2010, the company had 36 million subscribers operating in 15 countries, including 12 of the Group’s current 14-country footprint.

The Group further expanded its footprint with the acquisition of Telecom Seychelles Limited.

In 2012, he Group launched its greenfield operations in Rwanda.

In 2013, the Group expanded its operations in Uganda and in Congo through the acquisition of Warid Telecom Uganda and Warid Congo SA from the Warid Group.

In 2015, Airtel Africa acquired yuMobile’s subscriber base in Kenya from Essar Telecommunications Kenya.

Read: Airtel Africa Records Ksh41 Billion Profit After Tax, Growth in Customer Base

The following year, Airtel Africa sold its operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to France-based Orange.

The Group, in 2017, entered into a joint venture with Millicom International Cellular (which operates under the “Tigo” brand in Ghana) whereby Airtel and Millicom share equal ownership and governance rights in a combined “AirtelTigo” entity.

The following year, Airtel Africa acquired the operations of Tigo Rwanda, a subsidiary of Millicom.

In the same year (2018) Airtel Africa Limited, the Group’s UK holding company, was incorporated and registered as a private company in England and Wales.

The Company completed an initial round of pre-IPO funding, raising US$1.25 billion.

Read: Competition Tribunal Eases Merger Conditions For Airtel and Telkom

Last year, Telkom Kenya announced its intention to transfer its mobile operations, enterprise, and carrier business to Airtel Kenya, the Group’s operating subsidiary in Kenya.

Airtel Africa provides voice services to 110.6 million customers, data services to 35.4 million customers and mobile money services to 18.3 million customers. The company had a turnover of $3.4 billion in the financial year ended December 2019.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email

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