SWOT Analysis Bharti Airtel
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- Bharti Airtel has more than 65 million customers (July 2008). It is the largest cellular provider in India, and also supplies broadband and telephone services – as well as many other telecommunications services to both domestic and corporate customers.
- The company possesses a customized version of the Google search engine which will enhance broadband services to customers. The tie-up with Google can only enhance the Airtel brand, and also provides advertising opportunities in Indian for Google.
- Global telecommunications and new technology brands see Airtel as a key strategic player in the Indian market. The new iPhone will be launched in India via an Airtel distributorship. Another strategic partnership is held with BlackBerry Wireless Solutions.
- Despite being forced to outsource much of its technical operations in the early days, this allowed Airtel to work from its own blank sheet of paper, and to question industry approaches and practices – for example replacing the Revenue-Per-Customer model with a Revenue-Per-Minute model which is better suited to India, as the company moved into small and remote villages and towns.
- The company is investing in its operation in 120,000 to 160,000 small villages every year. It sees that less well-off consumers may only be able to afford a few tens of Rupees per call, and also so that the business benefits are scalable – using its ‘Matchbox’ strategy.
- Bharti Airtel is embarking on another joint venture with Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular to create a new independent tower company called Indus Towers. This new business will control more than 60% of India’s network towers. IPTV is another potential new service that could underpin the company’s long-term strategy.
- Airtel and Vodafone seem to be having an on/off relationship. Vodafone which owned a 5.6% stake in the Airtel business sold it back to Airtel, and instead invested in its rival Hutchison Essar. Knowledge and technology previously available to Airtel now moves into the hands of one of its competitors.
- The quickly changing pace of the global telecommunications industry could tempt Airtel to go along the acquisition trail which may make it vulnerable if the world goes into recession. Perhaps this was an impact upon the decision not to proceed with talks about the potential purchase of South Africa’s MTN in May 2008. This opened the door for talks between Reliance Communication’s Anil Ambani and MTN, allowing a competing Inidan industrialist to invest in the new emerging African telecommunications market.
- Bharti Airtel could also be the target for the takeover vision of other global telecommunications players that wish to move into the Indian market.
Airtel comes to you from Bharti Airtel Limited, India’s largest integrated and the first private telecom services provider with a footprint in all the 23 telecom circles. Bharti Airtel since its inception has been at the forefront of technology and has steered the course of the telecom sector in the country with its world class products and services. The businesses at Bharti Airtel have been structured into three individual strategic business units (SBU’s) – Mobile Services, Airtel Telemedia Services & Enterprise Services. Read more…
Bharti Airtel – Rider of the boom – Rishi Joshi and Amit Mukherjee, Business Today 5th March 2008
This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.
- Other stakeholders in Bharti Airtel include Sony-Ericsson, Nokia – and Sing Tel, with whom they hold a strategic alliance. This means that the business has access to knowledge and technology from other parts of the telecommunications world.
- The company has covered the entire Indian nation with its network. This has underpinned its large and rising customer base.
- An often cited original weakness is that when the business was started by Sunil Bharti Mittal over 15 years ago, the business has little knowledge and experience of how a cellular telephone system actually worked. So the start-up business had to outsource to industry experts in the field.
- Until recently Airtel did not own its own towers, which was a particular strength of some of its competitors such as Hutchison Essar. Towers are important if your company wishes to provide wide coverage nationally.
- The fact that the Airtel has not pulled off a deal with South Africa’s MTN could signal the lack of any real emerging market investment opportunity for the business once the Indian market has become mature.