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12 SUPERBRANDS

Market
The unprecedented growth in the mobile
market is now widely accepted as the cutting
edge benchmark of India’s transition into
a world mega-economy. This
phenomenal transformation,
starting in the early 1990s,
virtually coincided with the
advent of mobile technology in India. In the
changing hierarchy of needs, yesterday’s luxury
item is today’s everyday necessity. And so it was
with the ‘cell’ phone of yesteryear when it was
seen as a fashion statement and status symbol
for the rich. Today, it is a basic communication
medium for all socio-economic segments and
almost as ubiquitous as the post card. There
can be little or no debate as to who pioneered
mobile telephony and ushered in India’s
mobile revolution.
India’s emergence as one of the fastest
growing telecom markets in the world amply
vindicates Airtel’s market belief that supply
creates its own demand. The sector attracted
a record high Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
of US$ 2.5 billion (Rs. 11,250 crore) in 2005.
The mobile industry grew from 52 million
subscribers, with a mobile penetration of
approximately 5% in March 2005, to 90 million
in March 2006, reaching a mobile penetration
of 8%. A growth of 73% on an unusually large
base is an outstanding achievement.
With over 20 million subscribers as on 31st
March 2006, Airtel controls nearly one-quarter
of the entire market – making it the number
one brand in the country. Airtel’s world-class
service and innovative
products have enabled
it to establish this position
of leadership.
Bharti Airtel’s mobile
customers base accounts for
a 21.8% share of the overall
wireless (GSM and CDMA)
market as on 31st March
2006. The company has a
presence in 3,778 census
towns and in 80,687 non-
census towns and villages,
covering an addressable 40%
of the total population.
Bharti Airtel provides
broadband (DSL) and
telephone services (B&TS) in
90 cities across India. As on
March 31, 2006, Airtel had
over one million B&TS
customers of whom 300,000 are also
subscribing to DSL services.
Achievements
Airtel’s journey to leadership began in
Delhi in 1995. Since then, Airtel has
established itself across India in all 23 circles.
Airtel today supports the largest network
capacity in the country.
The concept of ‘One Airtel’, with one brand
identity, integrated with a single call centre
number, single billing etc, was an innovative and
far-sighted introduction. In a single stroke the
concept integrated India. It inculcated greater
synergies and efficiencies and created a brand
with a truly national character designed to
harness maximum customer satisfaction.
As evidence of its fine record, Airtel has been
conferred with numerous awards. AsiaMoney
judged it the Best Managed Company (2005) in
the Large Cap category. The brand was also
recognised as the Most Preferred Mobile
Service by CNBC Awaaz Consumer Awards; it
was picked as the Best GSM carrier in Asia in
the Telecom Asia Awards 2005; it was chosen as
the Wireless Service Provider of the Year (2006)
by Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific; it was featured
among the top 100 global information
technology companies in Business Week and
was included in the Forbes Global 2000 Leading
Companies in the World for the Year 2005.
History
The company’s journey has been an eventful
one. Each year of its existence has been marked
by a number of major events that have helped
make it what it is today. When Airtel was
launched in the mid 1990s as a mobile service
brand it covered only Delhi and Himachal
Pradesh. In those early days British Telecom
acquired a stake in the company. By 1998 it had
become the first private telecom operator to
obtain a license to provide basic telephone
services in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Bharti
BT VSAT Limited focused on providing VSAT
solutions across India; Bharti BT Internet Limited
was formed during this same period to offer
internet solutions.
Before the end of year 2000, the company
acquired JT mobiles – a cellular service operator
in Punjab, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. With
this acquisition Bharti became the largest private
sector telecom operator in India. It soon
expanded its South Indian footprint by acquiring
Skycell in Chennai.
Within the next two years it had expanded
into the largest cellular operator in the country
by entering India’s Eastern market through
acquisitions and obtaining licenses for eight
new circles. The company marked its steady
growth by introducing the new Airtel brand
campaign, featuring the signature A R Rehman
melody. Unknown to many, the tune has set
a record with over four million single ring
tone downloads.
Between 2003 and 2004 the company
introduced the Blackberry wireless solution
in India, as result of an exclusive tie-up with
Research in Motion (RIM). By 2006 Airtel
acquired an all-India footprint with the launch
of mobile services in Assam. In 2005/06,
Vodafone, the world’s
largest mobile service
provider, acquired a
10% economic interest
in the company.
Product
The company has three
strategic business units:
mobile services, broadband
and telephone services and
enterprise services. Mobile
Services constitute the largest
portion of Airtel’s business,
both in terms of total
customers and net revenues.
Today, Bharti Airtel offers
mobile services in all 23
telecom circles of India and
is, therefore, the first private
mobile services operator to
have an all-India presence.
Bharti Airtel provides
broadband (DSL) and
telephone services in 90 cities
across India. As on 31st March
2006 the company had
1,346,740 Broadband and
Telephone Services (B&TS)
customers of whom 315,729
were also subscribers to DSL.
The Enterprise Services
business unit has two sub-units:
carriers and corporates. In the
former, Airtel complements
its mobile, broadband and
telephone services with national and
international long distance services.
The corporate business unit provides secure,
scalable, seamless, reliable and customised
integrated voice and data solutions to corporate
customers and to small and medium enterprises
through a single window and dedicated
relationship management.
Recent Developments
The Indian market is poised to grow
at an accelerated pace with the mobile
population expected to touch 210 million
by 2010. With its constant focus on providing
customers with a range of never-before
innovative products and services, Airtel is
in an enviable position to take advantage
of this fast growth. With a consolidated
customer base of nearly 21 million
subscribers and varied product offerings,
Airtel is all set to unify the brand and
consolidate its image in customers’ minds.
It will strike a powerful emotional connect
with them as all three business units, Mobility,
B&TS and Enterprise Services will have an
identical look, feel and tone of voice.
Promotion
Airtel is now a truly national
player, adding more than one
million customers every month.
In the last couple of years an
array of innovations like lower
denomination recharge coupons
and lifetime validity schemes
have been pioneered. Each has
paved the way for a rapid drop
in barriers to using modern
telecommunication services.
The 999 Lifetime Validity
prepaid card service has truly
revolutionised the Indian
telecom space. For just Rs. 999 (US$ 22.2) a
mobile customer can continue to receive calls
for a lifetime without having to recharge or
worry about the validity period of the card or
coupon. This has made
mobile communication
affordable to millions of
people who would
otherwise not have
been able to benefit
from the convenience
of mobile
communication.
The RC 200 prepaid business
contributes almost 25% of Airtel’s customer
base. With the launch of Airtel Easy Music the
company has become the world’s largest retailer
of music.
The company’s vision is to make it the most
admired brand in India by 2010 – not just in
telecommunications, but across all categories
and segments.
The market mantra is to make Airtel loved by
more customers, targeted by top talent and
benchmarked by more businesses. The
company’s new motto is: ‘Think Fresh. Deliver
More’. Its messaging is aimed at
highlighting the commitment to
customer delight. ‘Think Fresh’ implies
a fresh focus on customer satisfaction
to which internal perspectives will play
second fiddle. ‘Deliver More’ is the
key driver to customers’ delight and
ensures that the company, at their
cost, takes no shortcuts.
Brand Values
Innovation is what separates leaders
from followers. This is where Bharti
Airtel leads from the front in an
intensely competitive market. The
company prides itself on innovations
that set industry standards, raise the
service bar, create new paradigms,
simplify customers’ lives and set people free to
express themselves.
From the very beginning the brand has been
the leader of change in India’s dynamic
telecommunications space. This would not have
been possible without a passion for innovation.
Products, services, processes are all guided by a
desire to do things differently and better. This is
evident in the company’s self care and single
billing platform. These novel steps and ideas are
designed to enrich customers’ lives – to
educate, entertain, inform, update and stimulate.
In this never-ending quest for customer
delight, Airtel continuously seeks opportunities
to think ahead, to consider alternatives to the
old ways of working and, above all, attempts to
anticipate what will make a genuine difference
to its customers.
Airtel impacts the lives of millions across
India. It gives people the unlimited freedom to
communicate. The company’s brand values are
all centred on leadership, performance, trust,
care, innovation and sensitivity. These are
reflected not just through advertising, but
in fact, through each interface Airtel has
with its customer.
www.airtel.in
13 SUPERBRANDS
THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT
Airtel was amongst the first operators to
launch the recharge coupon that brought a
paradigm shift in the market. It was
accompanied by a huge mass media campaign
that was extensively aired on all TV channels. In
the rural areas special Airtel mobile vans went
out from place to place promoting the RC 200.
Easy Music is a pioneering service that enables
Airtel’s mobile customers to buy any one of
18,000 songs in twenty languages from over
100,000 Bharti Airtel retail outlets across
the country.
The company has over 32,900 route kilometres
of fibre on its national long distance network.
Airtel was the first private operator to launch
mobile services in Jammu & Kashmir.
In the last eleven years Airtel has achieved
many first: the first to launch nationwide
roaming operations; the first to cross the one
million and the five million customer marks; the
first to launch services overseas.
Airtel