Airtel Bangladesh Ltd., sixth cell phone carrier to enter the potential Bangladesh market runs Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) –based cellular operation. Launching commercial operations on May 10, 2007 as Warid Telecom, this mobile telecom operator was rebranded to airtel in December 2010 following acquisition of 70% stake in Warid Telecom, Bangladesh, a subsidiary of the UAE-based Abu Dhabi Group by Bharti Airtel Limited in January 2010.
Bharti Airtel is making a fresh investment of USD 300 million to rapidly expand the operations of Warid Telecom and have management and board control of the company. This is the largest investment in Bangladesh by an Indian company. Dhabi Group continues as a strategic partner retaining 30% shareholding and has its nominees on the Board of the Company.
The new funding is being utilized for expansion of the network, both for coverage, capacity, and introduction of innovative products and services. As a result of this additional investment, the overall investment in the company will be in the region of USD 1 billion.
This is Bharti Airtel’s second operation outside of India. The company launched its mobile services in Sri Lanka in January 2009 on a state-of-the-art 3.5G network. On July 19, 2007, the company crossed the 1 million customers mark in the first 70 days of operation.
airtel Bangladesh had 4.37 million subscribers as of February 2011.
airtel Bangladesh Ltd. is jointly owned by Bharti Group and Dhabi group. In January 2010, Bharti Airtel Limited, Asia’s leading integrated telecom services provider, acquired 70% stake in Warid Telecom, Bangladesh, a subsidiary of the UAE-based Abu Dhabi Group. Dhabi Group continues as a strategic partner retaining 30% shareholding and has its nominees on the Board of the Company.
Founded in 1976, by Sunil Bharti Mittal, Bharti has grown from being a manufacturer of bicycle parts to one of the largest and most respected business groups in India. With its entrepreneurial spirit and passion to undertake business projects that are transformational in nature, Bharti has created world-class businesses in telecom, financial services, retail, and foods.
Bharti started its telecom services business by launching mobile services in Delhi (India) in 1995. Since then there has been no looking back and Bharti Airtel, the group’s’ flagship company, has emerged as one of the top telecom companies in the world and is amongst the top five wireless operators in the world.
Through its global telecom operations Bharti group has presence in 21 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe – India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Jersey, Guernsey, Seychelles, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Over the past few years, the group has diversified into emerging business areas in the fast expanding Indian economy. With a vision to build India’s finest conglomerate by 2020 the group has forayed into the retail sector by opening retail stores in multiple formats – small and medium – as well establishing large scale cash & carry stores to serve institutional customers and other retailers. The group offers a complete portfolio of financial services – life insurance, general insurance and asset management – to customers across India. Bharti also serves customers through its fresh and processed foods business. The group has growing interests in other areas such as telecom software, real estate, training and capacity building, and distribution of telecom/IT products.
What sets Bharti apart from the rest is its ability to forge strong partnerships. Over the years some of biggest names in international business have partnered Bharti. Currently, Singtel, IBM, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent are key partners in telecom. Walmart is Bharti’s partner for its cash & carry venture. Axa Group is the partner for the financial services business and Del Monte Pacific for the processed foods division.
Bharti strongly believes in giving back to the society and through its philanthropic arm the Bharti Foundation it is reaching out to over 30,000 underprivileged children and youth in India.
Warid Telecom International LLC
Warid Telecom International LLC operates as a telecommunication company that provides mobile telephone services in Bangladesh, Uganda, Georgia, Pakistan, and Congo. The company, through its subsidiary, provides fiber optic services in Pakistan, as well as long distance and international services. Warid Telecom International LLC was founded in 2004 and is based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Warid Telecom International LLC operates as a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Group.
Total 13 functions combine Airtel Bangladesh Limited workforce.
• Customer Care
• Supply Chain Management
• Operational Excellence
• Human Resources & Administration
• Information Technology
• Corporate Affairs
• Legal & Secretarial
• CEO Office
• Corporate Assurance Group
December 2005: Warid Telecom International LLC paid US$ 50 million to obtain a GSM license from the BTRC and became the sixth mobile phone operator in Bangladesh.
August 17, 2006: In a press conference, Warid announced that its network would be activated two months ahead of schedule, in October, 2006.
October, 2006: Again, Warid Telecom put off the launch of its cell phone services in Bangladesh until April, 2007 after its major supplier Nokia walked out on an agreement over a payment dispute.
January 2007: Warid had a soft launch at the end of January 2007. It gave away complimentary subscriptions among a selected group of individuals, whose job was to make ‘test calls’ and the operator adjusted its network’s quality based on their comments.
May 9, 2007: Warid in an advertisement in some daily newspaper stated that it would be launching publicly on May 10, 2007. However, neither call rate nor any package details were revealed. The advertisement included an announcement for the people interested to buy Warid connections to bring the documents like ID card, etc, to the designated franchise and customer care centers.
October 1, 2007: Warid Telecom expanded its network to five more districts raising total number of districts under Warid coverage to 56, said a press release. Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Rajbari and Narail towns were covered by Warid network.
November 10, 2007: 61 districts under Warid network coverage.
June 10, 2008: Warid Telecom expanded its network to 3 more districts Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati. Now all 64 districts of Bangladesh are under Warid network coverage meaning Warid Telecom now has nationwide coverage.
December 20, 2010, Warid Telecom was rebranded to airtel.
The unique symbol of airtel is an interpretation of the ‘a’ in airtel. The curved shape & the gentle highlights on the red color make it warm & inviting, almost as if it were a living object. It represents a dynamic force of unparalleled energy that brings airtel and airtel’s customers closer.
This specially designed logo type is modern, vibrant & friendly. It signals airtel’s resolve to be accessible, while the use of all lowercase is its recognition for the need for humanity.
Red is part of airtel’s heritage. It is the color of energy & passion that expresses the dynamism that has made airtel the success it is today, in India, and now on the global stage.
Vision & Tagline
By 2015 Airtel will be the most loved brand, enriching the lives of millions.
“Enriching lives means putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. We will meet their needs based on our deep understanding of their ambitions, wherever they are. By having this focus we will enrich our own lives and those of our other key stakeholders. Only then will we be thought of as exciting, innovation, on their side and a truly world class company.”
airtel provides both post-paid and pre-paid connection plans. The post-paid plan is branded and marketed across the country under the name airtel Postpaid, which means leader or royalty. The pre-paid segment is branded and marketed as airtel Prepaid.
The airtel Prepaid category is divided into four segments:
Airtel-Postpaid and Airtel Prepaid user enjoy various value added services(VAS), such as SMS, MMS, GPRS, 64K SIM, Dual SIM product, Corporate packages for product advertising via SMS, and a host of other features. However, International Roaming is available only to Warid postpaid users.
Airtel Bangladesh uses the following numbering scheme:
+880 16 N1N2N3N4N5N6N7N8
Where, 880 is the ISD code for Bangladesh and is needed only in case of dialing from outside Bangladesh.
16 is the prefix for Airtel Bangladesh as allocated by the government of Bangladesh. Omitting +880 will require using 0 in place of it instead to represent local call, hence 016 is the general prefix.
N1N2N3N4N5N6N7N8 is the subscriber number.
AEC & ARC
Airtel has ten customer care centers around the country, which is known as ‘airtel experience center (AEC), located at key locations. These centers are directly run by Airtel itself.
Airtel has another 120 dealer outlet spread across Bangladesh, the largest chain of retail outlets in the country, which is further backed up by a chain of sub-dealers, affinity partners & distributors. Dealer outlets of airtel known as “airtel relationship Center (ARC)”
SIM Cards, Scratch Cards and sometimes mobile sets are sold at these outlets. Bill collection for post paid users and Zem top up for pre-paid users can also be availed at the franchises. These franchises directly appoint dealers and sub-dealers in their designated areas.
airtel Bangladesh Ltd.: at a glance
Headquarters House 34, Road 19/A, Banani, Dhaka 1213, Bangladesh
Key people Chris Tobit, CEO
Products Telephony, EDGE, GPRS, GSM
Revenue US$2.6 billion (2010)
Operating income US$483.32 million (2010)
Net income US$405.86 million (2010)
Total assets US$19.01 billion (2010)
Total equity US$11.16 billion (2010)
Parent Bharti Airtel 70% and Warid Telecom 30%
Subscribers 4.37 million (as of February 2011)