- Bharti Airtel launches new global brand to unify its African operations
- All customers will experience the same familiar brand and enjoy the same quality of service, reliability, innovation and affordability wherever they live, work or travel
President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete together Airtel Tanzania Managing Director Sam Elangalloor
Bharti Airtel, one of the world's top five mobile telecommunications providers, today announced that it has re-branded the 15 Zain operations in Africa, including Tanzania, which it acquired in June 2010 to Airtel.
Airtel becomes the master brand for all the Group's 19 operations in Asia and Africa with immediate effect to deliver practical customer benefits through the power of a single global brand. The mobile operator's services and innovative new products will also follow the Airtel brand structure. The ZAP mobile money service is re-branded Airtel Money with immediate effect.
Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director, Bharti Airtel, said: "Airtel brings together all our operations under a single, strong and unique identity. We can deliver more for our customers by operating as a single brand across Africa to fulfill our vision of providing affordable and innovative mobile services for all.
"Our customers will experience the same familiar brand and enjoy the same quality of service, reliability, innovation and affordability wherever they live, work or travel. Airtel will also make a positive impact in the communities in which we operate through extending our network to rural areas and through our education initiatives."
According to a Deloitte report commissioned by the mobile communications industry association – the GSMA - only 40 out of every 100 Africans have a mobile phone, and a 10 percent rise in mobile penetration could increase gross domestic product by 1.2 per cent in developing markets.
Demand is growing at an average rate of 25 percent annually, and analysts forecast that sub-Saharan Africa will increase its mobile penetration to 65 percent by 2013 with most of the growth coming from rural areas.
Sam Elangalloor, Airtel Tanzania Managing Director, said: "We're aiming to increase our subscriber base by 150 percent by 2012 to 100 million customers across Africa. That growth will stimulate economies and create thousands of direct jobs, jobs in support industries like retailing and distribution, and connect communities.
"Not only will we have a positive impact on the economic development of Tanzania but we will help the people of Tanzania achieve their goals through mobile communications that are innovative, relevant, available and affordable."
In the past four months Airtel has already made tariff interventions in 11 of its 16 markets in Africa for the benefit of its customers. It has also signed agreements with three world class telecommunications infrastructure suppliers – Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks – to extend its networks to the most remote areas which are at present disconnected from the world.
Cheick Sarr, Marketing Director of Airtel Tanzania, said: "The mobile handset will be the device that bridges the digital divide and change the lives of people across the continent for the better, catalyzing economic growth, connecting people to the world – in some cases for the first time - and giving people everywhere access to education, healthcare and banking services.
"Access to mobile communications will give people the freedom to achieve their goals in life, transforming how people communicate and how communities interact. Delivering on that opportunity through affordable and available mobile communications for everyone is our focus."
Free mobile phone for all
To support the claim of delivering affordable access to mobile communications for everyone, Airtel has 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, costs just 39,000 Shillings. Included in the deal is a brand new Nokia 1280 mobile phone, a free SIM card and the equivalent value in free airtime and SMS text messages.
Sam Elangalloor, Airtel Tanzania Managing Director, said: "We're driven by the vision of making mobile communications affordable and available for all. Access to mobile communications will give people the freedom to achieve their goals in life, transforming how people communicate and how communities interact.
"Delivering on that opportunity through affordable and available mobile communications for everyone is our focus and this new Airtel package effectively removes the cost of entry for even the poorest people in the most remote areas."
Elangalloor said: "The mobile handset will be the device that bridges the digital divide and change the lives of people across the continent for the better, catalyzing economic growth, connecting people to the world – in some cases for the first time - and giving people everywhere access to education, healthcare and banking services.
"By effectively giving away a band new Nokia mobile phone for free and providing a SIM card plus talk time and SMS credits, now everyone in Tanzania can unleash the opportunities that mobile communications provide. This Airtel package gives them the freedom to achieve their goals in life."
The Airtel Nokia value package is available at all Airtel shops, dealers and Nokia shops.
Innovation driving change
Providing relevant, innovative solutions that make people's lives easier and increase opportunities for social and economic development is another of Airtel's core principles. The Airtel One Network, the world's first borderless mobile network, has been recognized globally as the leading example of network innovation by mobile industry organizations and former European Commissioner Vivienne Redding.
Available across 26 countries in Africa and the Middle East, Airtel One Network gives all post paid and prepaid customers the opportunity to move freely across geographic borders without roaming call surcharges and without having to pay for incoming calls.
Customers also receive the same services that they enjoy in their home country such as voicemail and customer service in their local languages, and airtime credit transfer for prepaid customers. The Airtel One Network service is automatically activated upon crossing the geographic border into any of the Airtel One Network countries, with no prior registration required or sign-up fee charged.
"In a region that is historically dependant on freedom of movement across borders, this service fits the needs of our customers perfectly, breaking down barriers and making life better for business, families and individuals from the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans," said Manoj Kohli.
The new logo
The new Airtel brand is much more than just a change of name. The brand comes with a promise to meet the emerging needs of customers with innovative, affordable and relevant solutions to empower consumers, giving them the freedom to do what they choose and provide them with the tools to meet life's daily challenges.
The red primary colour of the logo reflects the warmth and vibrancy of the African continent. It is the colour of life and of the African sun at dusk. These qualities are reflected in Airtel's brand personality of being brave and bold, giving and empathetic.
The new identity and core values were developed in partnership with a consortium of companies from WPP, the world's largest marketing services group. The Brand Union developed the identity; Millward Brown undertook consumer research and insight; Ogilvy developed the 360 degree campaign; and Hill & Knowlton directed communications.
Brand architect Andre Beyers, Airtel Group's Chief Marketing Officer, said: "Airtel is a well established brand across Asia and recognized by more than 190 million customers. The new brand identity – adopted across our 16 African operations – will become instantly recognizable by our customers across the continent. We aspire to be the most loved brand in Africa within the next four years."
Airtel is launching a number of world leading product innovations over the coming months that focus on delivering relevant information for customers that enhance their quality of life and provide tools that will help them overcome their daily challenges.
Airtel has also extended its sponsorship of the MTV African Music Awards – the MAMAs – Africa's premier music event and it is offering a number of exclusive products, including ringtones, wallpapers and highlights for the MAMAs , through its mobile portal, Airtel Live.