(Ecofin Agency) - Airtel Africa, the African arm of the Indian telecom group Bharti Airtel, will not bid for the telecom licenses that the Ethiopian government is putting up for sale as part of the process of liberalizing the national telecom market.
In an interview with Reuters on Friday 29 January, Raghunath Mandava (pictured), the company's chief executive officer, said the company will instead use the current year to strengthen its footprint in its current markets. "We have a lower market share in Nigeria, Congo, DRC, Tanzania, and Kenya. And our entire current focus is on these countries to grow, we are not looking at bidding for Ethiopia at this stage […] During the last couple of months and the whole of next year, our big focus will be Kenya and Tanzania where we are going to roll-out huge networks," he said.
Airtel Africa is currently active in fourteen African markets. The telecom company, which reported revenues of $1,130 million over the first nine months of FY2020-2021 - up 21.6% at constant exchange rates from the $995 million the same period a year previous - wants to strengthen its footprint to tap into the business opportunities on the markets.
By focusing on its current markets, Airtel Africa seeks to improve its rural presence to increase revenues. For the first nine months of FY2020-21, "our deployment in rural markets, coupled with strong customer growth, contributed to a 10% growth in voice, while data and mobile money continued to be growth drivers,” Raghunath Mandava explained.