Bharti Airtel rebrands its African ops
Bharti Airtel paves the way for African price war by launching a new “ultra low cost” package
Indian mobile giant Bharti Airtel has rebranded its operations in 16 countries in Africa, replacing the Zain brand with Airtel.
The Airtel brand was unveiled in Abuja, Nigeria, by Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and group CEO, Bharti Enterprises.
The company said that Airtel is now the master brand for all the group's 19 operations in Asia and Africa, covering over 200 million customers.
The company said in a statement that "all future new products and services" will follow the Airtel brand structure. It added that the ZAP mobile money service will be re-branded Airtel Money "with immediate effect".
Mittal, chairman and managing director, Bharti Airtel, said the move marked "a major step" by the company towards delivering on its promise of delivering improved telecoms services at a lower cost in Africa.
"I believe we are taking a major step towards delivering on this by introducing the heart of our business - the Airtel brand - across our operations in Africa," he said.
"Our African customers will now be able to enjoy the same best-in-class brand experience as our customers across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh."
To coincide with the rebranding, Bharti Airtel also announced the launch of a new ultra low cost handset package, which effectively provides a mobile phone free of charge to all new subscribers.
The package, launched in conjunction with Nokia, will be priced at around $23 and includes a Nokia 1280 mobile phone, a free Airtel SIM card and the equivalent value in free Airtel talk time and SMS text messages.
In the past four months, Airtel has already reduced tariffs in 11 of its 16 markets in Africa.
Bharti Airtel completed its $10.7 billion acquisition of 16 of Zain's African assets in June.