Bharti Airtel to launch in 3Q 2008
By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera
The much awaited Bharti Airtel will launch its services in the country towards the end of the year. Here the CEO of the company, Amali Nanayakkara talks to The Sunday Time FT on the future plans of the fifth mobile operator in the country.
When did you get the licence?
In early 2007.
The CEO of Bharti Airtel Amali Nanayakkara Why is the delay in launching Bharti Airtel?
Was there any delay for you to launch?
If you consider the time that has been taken for many of the networks to be rolled out, this is probably one of the speediest roll outs in this country. There was no delay.
Was there any snag in terms of government support to roll out your towers, for an example?
No. I think that Bharti Airtel investment in
What about your towers? Will you be sharing with other operators or going on your own?
The sharing of the infrastructure is beneficial for everyone - to the environment, to the population, the country as well as the industry. But the concept of sharing infrastructure is new to
How can you convince someone to exchange an existing mobile connection (Dialog for an example) to an Airtel one?
Our strategy would be to bring in a world class mobile service at an affordable price. This means that there are many areas we will focus on. One would be tariff – pricing, network, infrastructure - quality, breadth and width, customer experience, distribution - how far and wide you reach the customers. Each of these elements have to be excelled at in delighting the customers enough to be attractive to switch to Airtel. We will be competitive in all these areas. Our entry strategy has all of these elements.
How do you see the mobile industry in
The mobile industry still has potential for growth. We are currently at 38 percent per capita penetration. If you compare
There is so much growth left. There are four other operators, who are competitive. How much of the said growth are you targeting?
As long as there is growth potential, there is room for any player to move in. We are not talking about an already saturated market.
Would Airtel’s entry see the customer benefiting in terms of pricing?
Competition in any industry helps to improve the industry, because you have to constantly benchmark yourself and identify areas for improvement. This will lead to an improved set of products, services, price, coverage and quality. Ultimately customers will benefit, because all of that will flow down to the customer.
Is this the first time Airtel is venturing to another country?
No. Bharti Airtel already has international operations in Jersey in
Are you a pure product? Do you only focus on mobile services?
Yes. We are currently focusing on mobile industry services. Are you planning to diversify? Your competitor Dialog is diversifying.
We have plans for future growth. There will be diversification. Based on the mobile operator license that has been issued to Airtel, the company will roll out all services that come under its purview.
Will TV be included?
I cannot divulge details of that now, but we are focusing on mobile phone services.
Maxis entered the country. How do you see this?
We welcome competition, because it helps all players to be on their toes. There will be synergies which they bring in very similar to ours and Bharti Airtel will also have expertise and synergies which it will bring to the market. It is going to be a very competitive industry. How much of a commitment has Airtel made to
Would you be starting on a 3G platform and first with voice?
Yes.Then we will go on to the data.
Certainly not. This is an entry to build a sustainable business.
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