Airtel provides outlook for African mobile operations
Airtel Africa currently has 2G or 3G operations in 17 African countries and is looking to further increase profitability after heavily investing in African markets a couple of years ago. In the majority of markets, Airtel has a 15% market share and competes against “gorillas” with 50-60% share.
Last week, Airtel held a conference call after posting recent financial results. The transcript was made available and we’ve highlighted some points about how business is looking for Africa in the coming year.
- 3G has been launched in 13 countries
- Airtel Money is available in 15 countries with two more in the next two months
- Margins have increased in “pure 2G voice” but not necessarily in 3G data markets
- Nigerian revenues are back after promotion ban and a major MTN tariff reduction
- Margins will be smaller than anticipated in African markets
- Data usage is up and Airtel expects 25% of its revenue through data in the long term
In other words, Airtel’s plan to turn around its African markets is taking longer than expected. Goals for the coming year go down to “getting the cash right” and growing revenues. What’s more, each market has its own growth plan (these are not disclosed), so stay tuned for new products and services as they become available in the coming months.