Bharti Airtel in Africa Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

In June 2010, Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile services operator, got the African assets of Bahrain-based Zain Telecom for $10.7 billion-the largest ever cross-border deal in emergent markets. Bharti's executives imagined that they'd repeat the highly successful high-volume, low cost telecom version that they had pioneered for the Indian masses in Africa.

But when they began to incorporate the businesses, Bharti's executives discovered a slew of unanticipated challenges, including ethnic differences between their Indian and African workers, poorer infrastructure than they had expected with higher-than-anticipated prices, a monopolistic distribution network, strong challengers, a feeble partner ecosystem, and a marketplace that was unresponsive to tariff cuts. In early 2012, a year along with a half after, the company has outsourced customer service operations, IT and its networks like it did in India; found a brand that was unified across the continent; and culturally integrated with its new surroundings. Essential business metrics, including profit margins and market share, are showing early signals of advancement. But questions remain about whether the company will soon have the capacity to overtake MTN, Africa's leading player, by lowering tariffs what its strategy should be going forward, and like it did in India.

PUBLICATION DATE: April 10, 2012 PRODUCT #: 112096-PDF-ENG

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