Sometime last week, Bharti Airtel acquired Warid Telecom of Uganda in an attempt to ensure it remains the second largest mobile operator on Uganda. The move will see Airtel have a combined customer base of 7.4 million in Uganda representing a market share of over 39%.
Currently, Bharti Airtel is the fourth largest telecom operator in the world with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and this move will further increase the company’s footprints. It should be noted that Airtel has still not made a profit in 15 African countries where it operates.
The move by Airtel was met with mixed reactions by Warid customers in Uganda with some users expressing concern that they will not be able to maintain their numbers and missing out on popular products enjoyed on the warid network.
Head of Communications at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Fred Otunnu has assured customers that their interests will be protected. In an interview with the East African Business Week, Mr. Otunnu said that UCC will first evaluate the financial, technical and business models of the two operators before granting the transfer of license.
About Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa including Kenya. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 271 million customers across its operations at the end of March 2013.