The Telecom market in emerging countries has grown rapidly in the last decade. Established in 1995, in less than two decades Airtel has moved to become the third largest mobile operator in the world by the number of connections. It has acquired a subscriber’s base of over 303 million with its operation spanning across 20 countries. With its plan of expansion into emerging markets, Airtel commenced the operations of its Sri Lankan subsidiary in 2009 and acquired a majority stake in Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom International, then 4th largest operator in Bangladesh market. To become a global player in the telecom industry, Bharti Airtel Ltd. Acquired telecom operations of Kuwaiti company Zain in 15 countries across the Africa in 2010. However, the expansion strategy of Airtel was not all positive. After 15 consecutive quarters of falling net profit, Airtel reported first growth in profit in October-December 2013. However, a major chunk of this profit is derived from the Indian market. With the increasing competition, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh subsidiaries have continuously underperformed. While Airtel continues to perform better in India, continuous abysmal performance in other emerging markets are adding pressures on Airtel’s balance sheet and the company needs to review its geographical expansion strategy.
SOM, A. et MODI, A. (2017). Bharti Airtel Ltd: Journey in South Asian Markets. ESSEC Business School.