This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
JOSEPH’S COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Corporate Strategy Review
8/17/2010 Submitted By Das Anthony Jeanne Lai Ainee Natasha Gopinath Sandeep George Vinay Prakadan
COMPANY VISION & PROMISE By 2010 Airtel will be the most admired brand in India: • • • Loved by more customers Targeted by top talent Benchmarked by more businesses
“We at Airtel always think in fresh and innovative ways about the needs of our customers and how we want them to feel. We deliver what we promise and go out of our way to delight the customer with a little bit more”
INDUSTRY PROFILE The Indian telecommunication industry is one of the world's fastest growing industries; with 653.92 million telephone (landlines and mobile) subscribers and 617.53 million mobile phone connections as of May 2010 .It is the second largest telecommunication network in the world in terms of number of wireless connections after China. The telecom industry in India is regulated by 'Telecom Regulatory Authority of India' (TRAI).The key players in this industry may be broadly classified into, • • • State owned companies like - BSNL and MTNL. Private Indian owned companies like – Reliance Communications Foreign invested companies like - Vodafone-Essar, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Aircel etc Telecom companies predominantly divide their business into 4 major sub-segments i.e. Mobile, Fixed Line, Internet and Enterprise. Described below is a brief overview of the sources of revenues as well as costs for a telecom company: REVENUE ANALYSIS I. Mobile/Cellular services Cellular mobile service providers (CMSP) derive revenues by way of tariff charges for outgoing calls made by subscribers on its network. So basically, the revenue for a CMSP is simply a multiple of average revenue per subscriber per month (ARPU) and number of subscribers.
➢ Subscribers: Growth in a CMSP's subscriber base is dependent on several factors,
the key amongst them being:
Economic growth: With growth in the economy, and the consequent increase in activity, it requires people to be in constant touch. Thus, with the tremendous growth in economic activity in India there are more and more people subscribing to telecom services, thus leading to growth in subscriber base for CMSPs.
Rising income level: As the real income levels in a society rise, more and more people are able to afford usage of cellular phone and so the consumer does not feel the pinch of rising telephone bill, thus having the propensity to talk more, thus leading to higher MOUs for telecom services providers.
Affordability: The affordability is interplay of lower tariff charges and availability of cheaper handsets. While lower handset costs make mobile more affordable at the entry level thus allowing more people to be a part of the mobile community, lower tariffs allow for an increased usage of telecom services, while not having such an overbearing impact on telephone bills.
II. Fixed line services The fixed (wire line) services are dominantly provided for BSNL and MTNL. Although this had been a dominant mode of telecommunication in the past, it is fast being replaced with mobile telephony, which has the advantage of connectivity on the move. The fundamental business of a fixed line operator is almost similar to that of a CMSP, in terms of ARPU and Subscriber base. III. Internet/Broadband The Internet services are provided either by telecom service providers or independent Internet service providers (ISP) who deal exclusively in providing this service. There are two forms of Internet that are currently popular - the dial-up connections and the broadband connections. Apart from the usual - economic growth and rising income levels - the growth of the Internet business is dependent upon:
PC penetration: Internet penetration in India is currently at very low levels, as compared to its developing peers. This is set to take off with the rise in PC penetration, which will again be a consequence of affordability in terms of lower PC costs and reduced cost of data transfer..
Parental encouragement: Unlike most products where children are targeted to drive sales of consumer durables, in the case of computers, it is the parents who are going all out to ensure that their child grows up to be a computer literate.
IV. Enterprise services These services are used by large and medium corporate for data transfer between their offices and their suppliers' offices, which may be spread in a city, or a country, or even across continents. Considering that this business takes care of data transfer needs of corporate, who are not as 'affordability' conscious as the individuals, companies generally earn higher margins on Enterprise services than they earn on any of the other three business lines. IT and BPO sectors, whose business is so data dependent, are the major users of Enterprise services. COST ANALYSIS The cost heads can be broken up into regulated and non-regulated costs. Entry fee, access deficit charge and license fee are regulated. On the other hand, sales, general and administrative (SG&A) and employee expenses are non-regulated in nature.
Entry fee: The companies providing national and international long distance (NLD and ILD) services are required to pay a flat entry fee of Rs 25 m each (from earlier fees of Rs 1,000 m and Rs 250 m respectively). These fees are to be paid to the central government for obtaining a license for providing these services.
Access deficit charge: The government also collects from the cellular operators an access deficit charge. The charge payable is 1.5% percent of non-rural annual gross revenue of the telecom service providers and the amount collected is used to subsidise the telecom service provided by BSNL in rural areas.
License fees: Telecom companies are required to pay an annual license fee of 6% of their AGR to the Government of India. Licenses offered to the telecom players are for a limited period of time and these are required to be renewed on expiry.
SG&A expenses: Telecom companies incur expenditure in the form of advertisement costs for enhancing their visibility and also to make their brand more appealing to the consumers. Expenses are also incurred on customer acquisition and on maintenance of telecom equipment and network.
Personnel expenditure: These are costs incurred for maintaining the staff for executing the telecom companies' marketing strategies, for general administrative
purposes, for maintenance and repair of telecom infrastructure, and customer relationship management in call centres. Apart from these operating costs, telecom companies also incur cost for servicing debt and tax payments. Telecom is an operating leverage play indicating that each new subscriber will come at a higher profitability than the previously added subscriber and, as such, the benefits of faster subscriber addition are directly seen on companies' improving operating profitability as fixed costs are apportioned over a larger subscriber base.
PORTER’S FIVE FORCES Threat of New Entrants The number of major players in the Indian telecom is 12 companies. This has changed the tactics followed by companies, it all started by TATA DoCoMo bringing about the concept of per second billing. This made the companies to shift focus from Average revenue per user(ARPU) to per minute cost. So a smaller company has shaken the foundation of the sector. Moreover in the recent days the inclusion of 3G has brought about as is often said the entry of a 900 pound gorilla in the telecom industry as a major competitor. The newer players are turning the tide. Uninor’s variable pricing too has left feathers ruffled. This shows the increasing threat being offered by new entrants into the market.
Power of Suppliers
At first glance, it might look like telecom equipment suppliers have considerable bargaining power over telecom operators. Indeed, without high-tech broadband switching equipment, fibre-optic cables, mobile handsets and billing software, telecom operators would not be able to do the job of transmitting voice and data from place to place. But there are actually a number of large equipment makers around. There are enough vendors, arguably, to dilute bargaining power.
The largest monopoly is the allocation of the bandwidth by the government to the telecom companies. The concept of bidding should have been transparent but time
and time again have proved to be anything but. This can lead to severe losses as the allocation of bandwidth is the essence of telecommunication.
The limited pool of talented managers and engineers, especially those well versed in the latest technologies, places companies in a weak position. This is because the cost incurred by the company to train these new inductees is high and quite often the technology changes just as they are inducted.
Reliance Infratel has around 50,000 towers. The largest tower firm Indus Towers has around 1,00,000 towers and is a combination of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular operating in 16 service areas. This is how the tower firms dictate conditions to the telecom operators.
Power of Buyers All this chaos has created one of biggest power in the telecom industry the customer. The end user will be the happiest as the price wars ensue. This will lead to a change in the method of revenue generation as the concept of manufacturing minutes goes belly up in the future. Telecom in the present day holds low brand loyalty and brand switching is becoming more and more a norm. This would be more rampant when the clearance of free transfer of number while changing the service takes place. The end user should now be targeted more like a retail customer than that of speciality goods.
Availability of Substitutes In the recent years with the advent of internet into the domain of mobile, the demarcation between the two sectors has faded. As high speed internet is made available on the mobile phones the role of phone calls and short messaging services will diminish, which are a major source of revenue for the telecom companies in India. The use of software like SKYPE and Gtalk will be the order of the day. This has created a new theatre for the telecom companies to look into for revenue generation because if they are not prepared the losses due to the inclusion of internet based communication devices would be a lot. Competitive Rivalry It is said that Indian telecom is a big pie being shared by many people and the rivalry had been dormant in the past few years when everyone used to follow the antics of the market leader, case in point Airtel.
But of late the impact made by newer companies has led to a major price war among all the players. Recent statistics show that the minutes were being sold by the companies at 60p in 2008 but now, are being sold at 35p. This with the cost to the company at 25p (for Airtel) has hit the bottom line drastically. Rivalry in this sector has just begun to show up because the changes being brought forward are too many and those who adapt will survive. Competitors of Airtel are flanking it from the side by trying out newer ways to woo the customer. This makes an impact because the main target for the rivals is the youth who ask for low cost. But Airtel works very similar to a bank which likes to have more money coming in through valued customers rather than low cost urban connections especially when the cost in such demography is high for the company.
KEY SUCCESS FACTORS Airtel has its presence in all 23 circles of the Indian telecom industry. Some of its key success factors are • • Brand name One Step Ahead
A market leader can stay as such only if it stays one step ahead of the rest. The multi dimensional expansion of Airtel through different theatres has made it a step ahead of its nearest rival. This can only be executed through a stable and visionary management. • Business Process Outsourcing Airtel follows the strategy of outsourcing the non-core activities and focus on the core. Airtel is known for being the first mobile phone company in the world to outsource everything except marketing and sales. The firm outsources many of its most fundamental functions and infrastructures, including its information technology (IT) operations to IBM, Nortel and Wipro; its communications networks to Ericsson and Nokia Siemens; and its contact centre operations to Nortel and Wipro and recently with Cisco and Servion to provide hosted contact centre services. • Innovations in VAS
Airtel has separate value added services for consumers, small business and business enterprises. Airtel’s online desktop for airtel broadband users provides free online space for storing , editing and sharing data and also free antivirus package, free software and updates on rental basis for small businesses and this is one of the VAS which is not provided by other service providers. • M-Commerce Airtel has an idea of introducing m-commerce as one of its value added service. According to its CEO Sanjay Kapoor there is an 80 to 85 per cent of the population which is still unbanked and looking to do financial transactions using mobile technologies. By providing m- commerce Airtel plans to bring a revolution by making mobile phones work as ATM machines. • Network Airtel packs a punch when it comes to network coverage. The aim of Sunil Bharti Mittal was to create a network which is clear even when in the basement. Airtel has done just that and beyond. • Declining ARPU
With more than 10 million subscriber additions a month, the Telecom Sector continues to maintain its growth momentum. Due to the entry of new players in the market a high level of competition prevails and this has lead to a decrease in the Average Revenue Per User. Thus in order to sustain its competitive position Airtel has started focusing on increasing the revenue from Minutes of Usage MoU. S.W.O.T ANALYSIS STRENGTHS
1. Largest wireless network among all the
WEAKNESS 1. Reduced profit margin due to increasing cost per minute and falling selling price. 2. Increased debt by acquiring companies in newer markets.
3. Preparedness towards the changing
players in the market. Followed by the largest market share. Customer base of 133 million. High Customer Service and Quality.
2. The best performing (quality) network
coverage in India. 3. Highly effective Value added services in form of AppCentral which had a million plus downloads last month (June 2010).
role of telecom i.e. shifting focus from calls and SMS’. 4. Penetration into rural market. 5. Charging for customer care.
4. Penetration into the rural market through
collaboration with IMIMobile to launch ‘Cell Shakti’.
5. Partnered with VMware to look forward
into the domain of cloud computing, which is purported as the future of information?
6. Employed Ogilvy into African Marketing
operation. 7. Partners with leading Phone manufacturers for distribution. OPPORTUNITIES
1. The entry into the newer markets of
1. Too many players which can lead to
Africa as the domestic market goes though a state of unrest.
2. Telecom is slowly looked upon as a
diluted focus and can give a chance to a smaller rival to move ahead. 2. Internet based services taking over a part of the telecommunications domain. Likes of SKYPE and Gtalk. 3. Government regulations over the bandwidth regulations.
4. Presence of Reliance into the theatre
commodity so higher quality at a lesser price is needed. 3. Large section of the population which is not exposed to internet and need better connectivity. 4. The scope of breaching into the sector of two. 5. Mobile Banking Services. 6. Reaching out to the bottom of the pyramid internet and creating an amalgamation of sorts between the
of telecommunication. 5. Customer preference of price over performance. 6. Failure of expansion operations.
INDUSTRY LIFE CYCLE
Looking at the market condition and regulatory framework policies made by the government the telecom industry appears to be in a growth stage this would be a long term look at the life cycle of the industry. Untapped rural market: Telecom has penetrated only 44.87% of the Indian market out of which rural market constitutes only 15%. DoT has called for Private telecom operators for providing wireless broadband in rural areas and the selected private telecom operator would be provided financial assistance through its Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund. Favourable Regulatory Environment: The Government’s Telecom Policy initiatives have been growth-oriented and forward looking. Various incentives such as increase in foreign investment limits up to 74%, implementation of the Unified Access Licensing Regime (UASL), availability of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund for enabling expansion in rural areas and introduction of MNP have led to the proliferation of mobile services in the country. TRAI has slashed the termination fee paid by operators by 33%, which will help Telecom companies reduce their Local as well as National Long Distance (NLD) tariffs by up to 20%. Decreasing Cost of Subscription: The fall in subscription costs and rising incomes has increased the affordability of mobile services. The cost of life-time prepaid cards has fallen from Rs.999 to Rs. 99. The availability of low denomination pre-paid vouchers, bundled offerings and other product innovations have made mobile services affordable in semi-urban and rural markets Technology and increasing subscriber base: The Indian telecom industry with its intense competition is able to add minimum 10 million customers every year. The 3G subscriber base is expected to reach 90 million by 2013 with revenues touching Rs.80,000 crs, and would account for 46% of the total wireless revenues. Mobile Number Portability feature is to be provided very soon. Because of these factors the industry appears to be in a growth stage. Airtel:
Due to the entry of new players in the telecom industry there is an intense rivalry among established firms and the bargaining power of buyers have also increased. But still there is 50 % (approximate) of untapped market present in India in the telecom industry. Airtel with its four SBU’s Mobile services, telemedia services, enterprise services and digital TV services is able to compete in the race against other major players. Even though the company is in the growth stage there is a slight decline in its net income for the last two years. The recent acquisitions, the yearly increase in customer base and through its various renowned strategies it can be concluded that the company is in growth stage. However, if we take a snapshot of the industry today and analyse the stage in the lifecycle it is going through then it would be SHAKEOUT. This is so because the industry has too many players which cannot sustain themselves in the market for long. This situation can change if the cost per minute reduces which is not the case because the inclusion of 3G will lead to expenses which will reflect on both of the prices. Moreover the reach of the technology of 3G in the coming years is limited to small strata of the country. This is the time when Airtel will have to start contemplation about the role they are about to play in the years to come. As of now they are in luck because the storage space of the mobile phones is limited to a few GBs. This however will change as the market is keen to explore the area of mobile-internet. This is also a time when the telecom companies may drift into red as the costs are not coming down but the sales price is falling as the value of voice and SMS’s are slowly taking a back seat to pave way to Video. This stage of trial and error to find an economical yet profitable existence maybe labelled as, Shakeout of the industry as well as for the company which has to evaluate its operations. Airtel might not creep into red because they have taken counter measures by spreading out to either different business or newer markets which are running a generation(telecom technology) behind. COMPETITIVE PROFILE MATRIX Bharti Airtel Ratin Wt'd g 4 Score 0.8 Reliance Comm. Ratin Wt'd g 3 Score 0.6 Vodafone Essar Ratin Wt'd g 3 Score 0.6
CSF's Market share
Weigh t 0.2
Strategic Management Technology Sales and Distribution Brand Name Financial Strength Spectrum Allotments Customer Service and Quality Strategic Alliances Growth Customer Loyalty TOTAL 0.05 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.05 0.15 0.08 0.1 0.07 1 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 4 3 0.15 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.15 0.45 0.32 0.4 0.21 3.58 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 0.15 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.15 0.3 0.24 0.3 0.21 2.85
AIRTEL 3 2 4 2 3 3 2 2 2 0.15 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.15 0.45 0.16 0.2 0.14 2.65
EFE MATRIX Reliance Comm. Rati Wt'd ng Score 2 2 4 2 3 3 1.5 0.6 0.2 0.2 0.45 0.45 3.4 0.25 0.6 1.2 0.25 0.3 2.6
Key External Factors Opportunities Expansion into newer markets Diversification Mobile Internet Mobile Banking Rural Market Network Total Threats Effect of too many players Effect of Internet based services Impact of low tariffs Government Regulations Failures of M&A Total
Weig ht 0.75 0.3 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.15
Bharti Airtel Rati Wt'd ng Score 3 4 3 2 2 2 2.25 1.2 0.15 0.2 0.3 0.3 4.4 0.15 0.4 0.3 0.75 0.45 2.05
Vodafone Essar Rati Wt'd ng Score 2 2 2 2 3 3 1.5 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.45 0.45 3.3 0.15 0.6 1.2 0.5 0.3 2.75
0.05 0.2 0.3 0.25 0.15
3 2 1 3 3
3 3 4 1 2
3 3 4 2 2
The analysis of Airtel tries to understand what steps Airtel must take forward to sustain the market share. The Indian telecom industry as of now has almost 12 companies operating. Such a large number has pushed down the rates, this was initiated early by TATA
DoCoMo through its per second rates and has changed the revenue model of Indian mobile operators ever since. This led to the fall of the Average Revenue per User(ARPU) but the price of making those minutes rose. This fall in ARPU, the advent of 3G and acquisitions by companies, have increased cost of making minutes. Moreover with mobile phones falling under the category of commodity goods it is not easier to pitch with just a lower price. The changing tide of mobile phones in form of 3G will hit only a few in the initial years but they will be that segment with a higher ARPU. They will be exposed to a domain of high speed internet on mobile phones. This can have serious repercussions because the mode of communication through internet is free/low fare and high clarity. This is a major challenge to face early to decide whether or not the company must change its approach from being something more than just selling the voice service. Because the dark side of internet is the ability to find a cheaper and better alternative to everything the mobile phone has to offer. It is high time Airtel puts a slight focus on how telecom can change in the years to come. As of now the storage capacity of the mobile phones is relatively limited but once the capacity increase so will the speed and if Eric Schmidt is to be believed the ‘Future of Technology’ is mobile phones powered with high speed internet. Once that happens the role played by telecom companies would lie beyond the realm of just being a voice company but that which competes with software too. They will then have to change their business model to go beyond manufacturing minutes. Airtel must move ahead with the idea of moving to newer markets. Because making hasty decisions in a shaky market does not make sense. Innovations such as ‘Senté’ i.e. rudimentary banking through mobile phones can be implemented. As the urban market gets saturated the move must be to provide basic communication needs to the bottom of the pyramid. This can be implemented easily because of the presence of towers in almost all parts of India; they should just make it affordable. Almost 80% of the revenue generated by the telecom companies is through voice services. This is important because it means that a large chunk of these can defect to a product such as
Skype. But sustain the same level of revenue generation through voice the company can enter into a new market. Since the presence of the company in the rural demography is already present they can increase presence in the rural sector through market development. They can however change the brand name to prevent the association like that of Reliance and ‘aam aadmi’ (common man). These markets are not developed but do have the potential for growth. “Cell Shakti’s” initiative is good but it must reach far and wide. The expansion into Africa makes sense as the market is still developing and rich dividends can be gained. However the impact of the cost involved will affect the company’s Indian operation and can reduce their profit here. This would be in addition to the exorbitant price paid by the telecom companies for 3G circles. Airtel should not be hit badly since they have already sprouted few revenue generation portals like AppCentral, though the margin will fall.
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE Bharti Airtel’s competitive advantage can be seen right from the period of 1990’s. Bharti was the first Indian company to manufacture cordless telephones. Acquisitions and joint ventures One of their main competitive advantages is their acquisitions and joint ventures. Starting from the time they entered this telecom circle in Delhi till today Airtel is clear with the idea of making strategic alliances. When Airtel initially rolled out its service in the name Bharti televentures in Delhi it also went into an agreement with Siemens to market telephone terminals under Siemens and Beetel brand names. For a company into the telecom service business cannot maintain growth without expansion. Whenever Airtel entered a new state in India it was only through the acquisition of an existing player in that state. Airtel entered Andhra Pradesh and Karnatake by acquiring stake in JT Mobiles. It entered Kolkata by acquiring Spice cell. Airtel entered Tamil Nadu by acquiring Sky cell in Chennai circle. This is how Airtel is even trying now to make its global presence by acquiring Zain in Africa. Outsourcing
Retaining the core business and outsourcing the allied activities is an effective strategy followed by Airtel. Due to its rapid growing customer base Airtel outsourced its customer service operations to various BPO’s and signed agreements with major IT companies like IBM and CISCO to manage the back end operations of its customer service activities. Supplier Relationships and Integrations Change is something which any business has to undergo to maintain its competitive advantage. Providing voice transfer in telecom business has become an outdated model now. Data transfer is the idea in which all telecom players are concentrating now.
After the public sector telecom operator, Airtel leads all other players in providing this data transfer right from the time it started with its GPRS service for mobile phones and now the largest private player to provide the new 3G service. Airtel also has expanded its business by entering the broadband service as a part of its forward integration.
It has also acquired stake with Indus and also has its own Bharti Infratel which provides tower solutions which is a part of backward integration. Also the relationships that Airtel maintains with its suppliers are all long term relationships. Going back to the initial agreement with IBM which is a 10 year contract, the contract with Siemens which it still has right from the time of Airtel’s incorporation. IFE MATRIX BHARTI AIRTEL Bharti Airtel Ratin Wt'd g Score 4 4 3 3 2 3 1 1.2 0.15 0.3 0.3 0.45 3.4
Key Internal Factors Strengths Network Infrastructure Management Diversified Portfolio Organisational Strucuture Value Added Services Innovation and Adaptation Total Weakness
Weigh t 0.25 0.3 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.15
Strategic Management Lack of own core technology team Increase in Debt Decreasing Profit Margin Few employees Lack of experience in Africa Total
0.05 0.2 0.3 0.25 0.15
2 3 4 2 3
0.1 0.6 1.2 0.5 0.45 2.85
Key internal Factor
Key external factor
Capability of taping international markets, and extend the networks.
The entry into the Employed Ogilvy into newer markets of African Marketing Africa as the domestic operation market goes though a state of unrest.
They are not present in the rural markets in India. They are far away from the Indian rural part and generally this part is covered by BSNL
There is a large market Spreading to the rural for the telecom sector markets with in the Indian rural competitive rates. market.
Dropping the call rates
Strategic Management Airtel has got various services like that of being a internet service provider
AIRTEL competition from other to stay on par with the cellular companies like market. that of reliance and Provision of higher BSNL transfer rates compared to the other ISPs and lower rates.
Lack of infrastructure Internet based services to support the modern taking over a part of technology the telecommunications domain. Likes of SKYPE and Gtalk.
Increased expenditure on developmental activities and infrastructure like that of 3G.
STRATEGIES ROLLED OUT The major strategies of Bharti Airtel in the past 5 years are as under: 1. Outsourcing all major operations except Marketing, Sales and Finance: It is known for being the first mobile phone company in the world to outsource everything except marketing and sales and finance. Its network (base stations,
microwave links, etc.) is maintained by Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Network, business support by IBM. Oracle provides Bharti Airtel with real-time financial and human resources information as well as information for the organization to churn out higher operational efficiency, along with better visibility and enhanced management over its financial and HR operations. All this portray an important strategic move by Airtel which follows the line of the Rockefeller Principle of ‘give away the lamp and sell the oil’, wherein the company maintains focus only on the component of service while the tangible component is outsourced. This is crucial because product and price of the company can be matched by any competitor in time. But, the service provided by any company creates a layer which provides the edge and can be constantly improved upon. 2. Bharti Airtel has a joint Venture with Alcatel-Lucent to manage the network infrastructure for the Telemedia Business. 3. Bharti Airtel and Google announced a strategic partnership, as part of the agreement, Airtel will bring Google search to the Airtel Live mobile WAP portal. Google will also incorporate advertising through its Mobile Ads product on the Airtel Live mobile portal. This was a good move however, since the advent of faster internet connectivity this facility has taken a beating as mobile users can now access the whole page on the web rather than a slimmed down version of the same webpage. 4. M-Commerce Mobile phone now turns into a virtual wallet – a new innovation in mobile commerce. Airtel, ICICI Bank & VISA had joined hands to launch mChq – a revolutionary new service – a credit card on the mobile phone.
This is the first mobile-to-mobile payment option, which enables Airtel customers and ICICI Bank Visa cardholders to pay for their purchases with their Airtel mobile phones. Airtel realised that the role of mobile telephony must surpass the conventional school of thought, especially in India. Ever since internet banking has kick started in India, it was just a matter of time before mobile banking started to play the role of a constant revenue stream. The only drawback to this initiative is the lack of infrastructure in India when it comes to cashless purchasing.
5. Targeting 55 million farmers under its fold, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) have agreed upon a joint venture with telecom major Bharti Airtel to provide a boost to Indian agriculture and rural economy at large. The joint venture company, IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd (IKSL), has harnessed the power of telecom to add value to the farm sector and empower the rural farmer by giving him access to vital information, which will enhance his livelihood and quality of life. This is an innovative way to target the bottom of the pyramid because competitors in form of Reliance and BSNL function solely as a telecom provider. This move implements the qualities of both ITC e-choupal and rural telecommunication.
6. Hiring the best or attracting the best (poaching or otherwise) Airtel has a history of hiring some of the high level officials from other companies to be an integral part of their business. This is not just the strategy used by Airtel but also other telecom majors. Some of the recently hired officials are Shireesh Joshi (previously in PepsiCo) as Director Marketing head. Bharti Airtel has also recently roped in Joachim Horn, chief technology officer (CTO), T-Mobile, to help expand its global footprint and interface with strategic partners.
Andre Beyers (Vodacomm) as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for its operation in Africa. Earlier, the company also appointed B Srikanth from Unilever UK as its chief financial officer. Sriram Jagannathan, Citibank’s e-commerce and m-commerce head in Japan has been given the role of CEO of its mobile commerce venture in a bid to improve its revenue stream. 7. Expansion into Africa Airtel made rapid strides to expand its presence in Africa first through showing intent of acquiring MTN, which was called by The Economist as ‘marrying up’ but as the deal went awry they moved forward by acquiring Zain Telecoms business in 15 countries in Africa. This is an important move as Africa has a higher consumer spending, $ 1.4 trillion, average revenue per user of $8 which is much higher than India and only 3 to 5 players in each market making it one key market where Airtel can expand. With the infrastructure of Zain in place the market share of Airtel is already high in the continent. The challenges that they would face would be the element of political turmoil in almost all these nations. Also the presence of MTN in the same market, because MTN has learned to function locally, adapting to the ‘street-up’ innovations like ‘Sente’, which rolls in the concept of rudimentary banking where there is none. 8. Digital TV, the DTH service from Airtel The implementation of the initially failed concept of Set Top Box led Airtel to enter this lucrative market to television. Cable connection in India was run by local cable operators who acted largely in form of cartels. With the crackdown from the regulatory bodies in India this sector once again became a gold mine. 9. Strategic relationship with VMware Bharti Airtel has extended of its managed services portfolio by entering into a strategic relationship with VMware. Bharti Airtel's Managed Virtual Compute services aims at reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) for customers looking to transition to next-generation data centre architectures.
This collaboration aims to target the enormous market potential for cloud-based managed compute services in India by offering external IT infrastructure for customers, allowing them to increase or reduce compute capacity based on business demands. Bharti Airtel will offer these cloud services based on the VMware vSphere platform. Bharti Airtel's services will ride on its existing network infrastructure across the country and be available to enterprise customers on a ‘pay per use' model. Services would include Web Services, File, Mail, Database, Transaction, Disaster Recovery, Co-location and other Managed Services. Bharti Airtel recognises the need of its customers in the virtualisation space and is happy to be collaborating with VMware in offering cloud based services for our customers. This being a first-of-its kind initiative in India, brings together strengths of Bharti Airtel's managed services capabilities and virtualisation technologies from VMware. 10. Joint venture deal with Wal-Mart, the US retail giant, to start a number of retail stores across India. This is crucial for Airtel as this would mark its entry into the a new theatre of retailing. The most important facet of retailing is logistics which is a major challenge in India for Airtel.
11. Bharti's Agri-Venture with Rothschild family Bharti ventured into the fresh food business with an agreement with the Rothschild family to enter the food and beverage (F&B) division with FieldFresh Foods. However due to the poaching of a 70 member from FieldFresh Foods by Reliance the Rothschild family sold out its stake to Del Monte Pacific. The food products of DelMonte in India is being marketed and distributed by a joint venture under the name of FieldFresh Foods. They face the unique challenge of being the new entrant in the market. They might have to prove beyond the high quality of Del Monte Foods due to the presence of many low cost leaders.
Recent developments have shown the presence of Del Monte goods at eye level locations at retail outlets competing with the likes of Pepsi in the Beverage division and Unilever, Nestle and ITC in the food division, all who have a strong distribution network in place. This is a great opportunity for the company but they might have to implement suitable measures to combat the well trenched competitors.
BUSINESS MODEL OF AIRTEL
Airtel is probably one of the best run companies in the world (most definitely in India). It is the largest telecom player in the country and has the advantage of both massive size and a very high-growth industry. It’s worth about $25 billion and growing fast. The secret of its success has been its business model. Airtel focuses only and solely on two things: Customer acquisition Servicing (Retention) and business development/expansion All other functions i.e. hardware, network management, backend applications (billing etc), value added services and even telecom infrastructure – are outsourced. Airtel pioneered this in the Telecom game. In February 2004, Sunil Mittal, the CEO of Airtel took a bold step in outsourcing its cellular network operations and network management to companies like Nokia Siemens and Ericsson, IT and backend applications to IBM, billing to someone else etc.
Innovative Business Model:
Bharti Airtel Limited and IBM India Pvt. Ltd have established an Innovative Business Model that is now setting new standards across industries around the world. In March, 2004, in what became a globally historic, first of its kind deal, Bharti outsourced all of its IT to IBM.
• • The agreement was the largest ever IT deals in India and at the time of signing, was estimated to be of an order of US$ 750 million in value. MIS Asia has awarded this Innovative Business Model three pan-Asia awards in the last two years including the MIS Asia IT Excellence Award for Best Change Management in 2005, the MIS Asia IT Excellence Award for Best Bottom Line IT in 2006 and the MIS Asia IT Excellence Award for Best Knowledge Management in 2006
Strategic Management •
IBM assumed responsibility for all of Bharti’s IT systems, Applications, infrastructure, operations and people with the agreement coming into force. The agreement entailed Bharti paying IBM a percentage of its revenues, which directly linked IT cost to business performance. The agreement construct was innovative not only from the Perspective of the remuneration model for IBM, but also in terms of the Scope of the delivery, which was comprehensive and included practically all of IT—current and future. It made innovation all pervasive as IBM introduced changes in the area of processes, people and systems to usher in business transformation improve operational excellence and efficiency and optimize performance. Having seen Airtel succeed with this, a number of the other operators are now trying to follow in some way or the other. E.g. Hutch followed a similar model by outsourcing their network operations to Nokia. It was also the first to divest its hard assets, i.e. – its telecom towers – to a separate company and lease them back themselves as well as monetize surplus bandwidth by selling to other operators. This was the ultimate act in putting the faith in the brand rather than in iron and steel. Because of focus on customer experience and on business development, Airtel has been not only the fastest growing but the most innovative of operators. It has realized the importance of having access to the consumer at all levels, and therefore is going from core mobile to landline internet, Digital TV (DTH) and even digital cinema (theatres) It is also one of the few companies that have realized the importance of value added services (VAS) early on in the game.
Projection of Future Financial Position:-
Customer base: The customer base as on 31st March 2010 stood at 137.6 million for the company across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. By the year ending March 2013, the customer base is projected to increase to 450 million. Revenues: Bharti Airtel posted revenues of Rs 41829.5 crores for the year ended 31st March 2010. The revenues have been increasing but at a decreasing rate. Keeping that in mind, the company should be able to post a net revenue of Rs 58748 crores. Net profits: For the year ended 31st March 2010, net profits were Rs 9426.2 crores which was a 22% Y-o-Y increase. The projected profits for March 2013 should stand at Rs 16449 crores taking into account an increase of about 25% of profits over sales. Growth rate: Bharti Airtel grew at 7% for the financial year 2009-2010. It has been projected to maintain an average growth rate of 10-15% in the next 3 years. Market share: Currently Bharti Airtel operates full-fledged in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It has recently begun operations in Africa. In India, despite the high competition there is more to look forward, as the penetration levels are way below the global average at 38%. The penetration levels in Africa is also low and with only 4 other pre-dominant competitors in the continent, the company will be able to grow its market share steadily. Employees: The number of employees should be at around 41000 by March 2013.
(Rs in Crores) Particulars Revenues Profits Employees Growth Market Share 2010-2011 Rs 46013 Rs 11043 39000 10% India- 22% Africa-30% Customer Base 220 million 2011-2012 Rs 51534 Rs 13398 39600 12% India-26% Africa-32% 330 million 2012-2013 Rs 58748 Rs 16449 41200 14% India-28% Africa-37% 450 million
Strategies which should be in the pipeline:
1. Lookout for acquisitions post shakeout Telecom industry in India has too many players operating. Which is good for the customer but the price wars will hit smaller players the most. Airtel must be on the lookout for companies which might fail in due course during this shakeout phase. They must also make contingencies so as not to fall prey of failing competitors last gasp strategies. 2. Africa and the El Dorado illusion: Africa for Airtel looks like a very good market. However it must be careful of the fickle governmental construct in Africa and constant danger of civil war. Africa over the years has become attuned to the concept of aid, only few nations like Ethiopia have tried to focus on their economy. In areas like Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad where tele-density is low infrastructure should be constructed at one’s own risk. Zain has cut down 70% of its staff, this could be because of the acquisition by Airtel. As of now the extensive market share of Airtel in Africa is due to Zain’s initial presence. They must integrate the whole operation under Bharti as soon as possible. 3. Contingencies to combat recession The European JV partners of Airtel could be hit once again if Greece fails, they must already have steps in place to move out of that JV in case of drastic fall in profits or to create demand to supplement them in case of a crisis. 4. Threat of Internet Mobile might be the future of devices but the future of connectivity is the internet. The role of free services like, Skype have created a new threat for the telecom industry because if the internet gets faster and faster, connectivity through mobile devices would go beyond WAP and communication would be done through internet. As of now Airtel has two revenue streams in place in form of mobile internet and PC internet. But as people move out of laptops into handheld devices like the I-Pad, the future of communication would no longer be through voice but video for that the internet is leaps and bounds ahead. Since internet is based on a open source model the company would only be able to make revenue through its service. This would be detrimental to its overall operation as under developed nations would continue to flourish in the obsolete technology.
SMS services are already hit with the operation of sites which allow free SMS services. This is harmful for the company because SMS by telecom industries is being sent as part of the bandwidth which cannot be used and also they are not being charged for it. If this moves on to voice or video messages the company will be hit badly. They must be careful not to combat Skype by going free as a service but fall back to its Rockefeller Principle. 5. Their strategic alliance with VmWare is crucial and must be played out well because the storage space within any hand held device is limited. However if cloud computing is implemented they have to provide faster communication and prevent the disaster of netbooks. 6. With election coming up in a few years they must make provisions for changes in the telecom regulations if there is a change at the Centre. 7. The business model implemented in Africa would have to be different from that of India. They must also be open to ‘street-up’ innovations which largely targets the bottom of the pyramid. Earning trust is the key in this situation and adopting low cost innovations and larger local workforce would pay dividends to the company. 8. The segment of Airtel which focuses on broadcasting services must look into the facet of integrating internet into the television experience. With current laptop users watching movies online enjoying the experience of television on laptops, they can implement a way to allow television users to enjoy experience of internet on their television sets.
9. Their role in cashless banking should be more. With handheld devices already
heading the next wave, it is important for Airtel to be there with its services. They must collaborate with banks to ease cashless banking. This can be done because in India the concept of PayPal and other online shopping facilities have failed, so they do have an angle in this segment. In this segment lies the opportunity for Airtel as they will play the role of a secure network provider and the banks will be part of the finance related construct.
10. Security Threat: With phone numbers becoming more and more an identity of an individual, case in point in few villages of Ethiopia the house have mobile numbers for identification. This could mean that in the future the virtual existence of an individual would be a ten digit number or more and any contact within the six degrees of separation, for an individual would have to be unique. This is a challenge for Airtel, as this also means immense work towards network security. Most of the mobile phones do not possess a firewall or an anti-virus and with the fading lines between internet and mobile communication, Airtel has to work in improving this component of its business.
PROPOSED BUSINESS MODEL FOR AIRTEL:
Airtel has already established itself as the leader in the market by differentiating itself with its focus on building a strong brand through innovation in sales, marketing, and customer service, and an innovative cost effective business model. • Bharti Airtel should partner with existing players in Africa to share infrastructure to reduce operational costs for Zain. They should go for country level discussions for collaboration on fibre optic sharing and tower sharing. Extension into smaller towns will be at lower capital expenditure through sharing. • Airtel was among the first operators to start infrastructure sharing in India which has helped it to sustain a low cost tariff business model. Hence, they should follow a somewhat similar strategy for Africa. • The idea is to engage with Tier two operators and form a new company and share Radio Access Network (RAN) and related cost burdens. This move will help at achieving some leverage against MTN the maket leader in some of these geographies. • Airtel has proven that it will do whatever it takes to make Africa a success and will not necessarily just replicate its Indian models but use innovation and leverage wherever possible. REFERENCES 1. http://www.ibef.org/industry/telecommunications.aspx 2. http://business.mapsofindia.com/india-industry/telecom.html
3. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2010/05/13/stories/2010051352981000.htm 4. http://www.equitymaster.com/research-it/sector-info/telecom/
5. Netcore CEO Rajesh Jain: 'In India, the Future of the Internet Will Be Built around
the Mobile Phone' Published : October 18, 2006 in India Knowledge@Wharton 6. Jan Chipchase – “ Design for future” – T.E.D 2007
7. C.K. Prahalad: 'The Poor Deserve World-Class Products and Services'
Published : January 24, 2008 in India Knowledge@Wharton 8. Michael Porter – “Competitive Strategy” 9. “The End – Telecom industry” – Forbes India June 2010 10. http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report_mukesh-cleans-out-bharti-s-fieldfresh-hiresalmost-70-people_1041543
11. What shape will the wireless Web take? - Jacques Bughin McKinsey Quarterly
12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation 13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharti_Airtel#cite_note-3