Uganda’s Bharti Airtel declared on Tuesday it had entered into agreement to take full possession of Waridi Telekom. Although the company did not disclose the cost of the deal, it is believed that Bharti Airtel has already paid an estimated $250-$280 million to Waridi Telkom. Analysts who spoke to Bizrika say Bharti has a huge presence in Africa and it could be keen on taking a lead in the continent’s market share as business in Africa gears for peak time.
Bharti Airtel is the second largest mobile company in Uganda with a total of 4.6 million subscribers. It closely follows MTN which is the country’s leading mobile company with a total of 7.7 million subscribers. Waridi Telkom has been holding the third position with an approximate customer base of 2.8 million.
Bharti has now secured second position in Uganda with a total of 7.4 million subscribers. This will offer strong competition to MTN, considering it has only 300,000 subscribers ahead of Bharti Airtel. Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Kenya, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi and Rwanda are some of the countries where Bharti Airtel conducts business in Africa. It currently holds 39% market share compared to MTN at 49%.
Bharti Airtel is the largest Indian telecom company, providing services to over 269 million people in the world. It entered the African market in the year 2010 after buying the Zain Telecom operations for $9 billion in 15 countries. It has now added two more countries including Nigeria and Uganda to make a total of 17 for its African investment.
Waridi Uganda board member Mohammed Nahayan said the acquisition by Bharti Airtel means customers of Waridi will enjoy more services such as wider network coverage and access to extensive 3G network.
Bharti Airtel is the fourth largest mobile company in the world. It operates in India and South Asia with the latter contributing 75% of the company’s total revenue. It began as Bharti Tele Ventures in 1995.
China mobile is the leading mobile operator worldwide with a total of 703 million subscribers. It is followed by Vodafone, a company with a total of 440 million customers. American Movil closes the chapter of the best three mobile companies with 300 million subscribers.