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Bharti Airtel: Reports that we’re exiting Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania ‘Devoid of Facts’

by Milicent Atieno
bharti airtel

Following a publication by the Economic Times that seemed to suggest Sunil Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, that the telecom is currently actively engaged in exploring options of either purchase, merger, or intra-country sales of its businesses in Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The telecom has issued a press release to set the record straight, ‘we’re not exiting the said market if anything we are consolidating our businesses there.’

However, this is not the first time the stakeholder have gotten mixed signals about the company’s business viability; especially in Kenya where Safaricom seems to be overwhelming it. Early this year, Airtel Kenya felt the need to come out publicly and reassure its subscribers that it has no intentions of closing shop and moving out of the country.

Yet again, Airtel Kenya has come out in light of recent reports that it is thinking of exiting Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania to reassure subscribers that it is in to stay. In a press statement to newsrooms, Bharti Airtel says they have no intentions of closing down operations in the three countries, and they have:

consistently stated that it is open to consolidation opportunities, either through acquisitions or mergers, to create sustainable businesses in Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. It was never stated that Airtel was looking at exiting these markets. As stated in the past, our focus continues to be either the No.1 or No. 2 operator in each country where we operate, through market consolidation.”

As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and Bharti Airtel in the press statement went ahead and showed just that pubbing. The telecom has acquired additional infrastructure in Uganda, Kenya, and Congo, and consolidated its operations in Ghana.

As far as the Kenyan market is concerned, Airtel went ahead to remind people that is has gone a long way in developing the 2G/3G/4G networks to just close shop and leave town. The telecom further said that in the coming few months, it plans to set up at least 300 base stations across the country to improve its network coverage.

This validates our stand that in-country consolidations have resulted in achieving better market positions, thereby benefiting customers and the industry as a whole.”

The telecom’s revenue grew by 2.8% Year-on-Year (Y-o-Y), and net revenues rose by 6.3% primarily because of increased mobile penetration and increasing demand for mobile data.

We remain focuses on accelerating growth through the three pillars of increasing mobile penetration, growing the data business and expanding the Airtel money base.”

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