[money control] Bharti Airtel is going gung ho on its African operations. Manoj Kohli, its chief executive for international operations, in an interview with CNBC-TV18’s Siddarth Zarabi, said that the telecom operator is seeing faster network rollout in two to three quarters.
Expanding it footprints in the continent, Bharti Airtel is expecting more 3G licenses in Africa in one year.
"3G is one big focus for us. We are talking to the government and maybe in a year’s time we will get more licenses but in 16 countries we are focusing on 3G network. We have no price of war intention at all," Kohli said.
According to the company, it has gained market share in all African operations including doubling the number of distributors and retailers.
Kohli is worried that Zain’s tariff at 30-40% premium was not sustainable. Bharti bought Zain’s Africa business for USD 9 billion last year.
Noting that tariffs are now stabilising in Africa, Kohli stressed that Airtel is taking cost efficiency measures like tower sharing. Currently Airtel has 12,000 towers across Africa and is planning to move present towers to new tower companies very soon.
“Cost structure in Africa is too high and we cannot bring down prices. We
will take two years for cost structure to go down in Africa,” he added.
Airtel dances to African tune, sees more 3G licenses there