Telecommunications continues to change the face of the African continent by providing an enabling environment for inclusion. Bharti Airtel, is playing a central role in addressing a range of socio-economic developmental issues. Today, Airtel is bringing this technology to more than 80 Mn people across the continent.
During the year, we encountered some headwinds fuelled by currency fluctuations, regulatory issues and other industry challenges. Despite them, we strengthened our operations through a well-considered growth strategy. Our strategic focus has led to an improvement in our performance since Airtelís entry into Africa. Some of the key focus areas during the year were:
Data usage per customer reached 547.4 MBs by March 2016, accounting for a year-on-year growth of 58.7%.
- Continuing our aggressive war on waste in all our OpCoís to ensure cost efficiencies across all functions, leading to overall savings.
- Growing our customer base with a focus on quality and a pragmatic approach towards customer interventions and engagement.
- Network upgrades to cater for the existing and expected data growth.
- Focusing on enhancement of internal controls for compliance and governance.
Some key milestones during the last financial year included:
- Airtel and Orange signing an agreement leading to Orangeís acquisition of Airtelís operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.
- Achieving closure of the Tower Cos agreements in eight of the 11 countries. We are confident to reach full closure within 2016-17.
- Right-sizing of our current workforce to create a nimbler, high performing organisation.
With over 9 Mn subscribers transacting close to USD 16.9 Bn (Constant Currency) during the year and a presence across all our 17 markets, Airtel Money is ready to move to the next level.
Data continues to play a key role in driving our revenues and we foresee growth in data subscriptions in the coming years. During the last financial year, our data subscriptions grew by 28.5%, while total MBs on the network grew by 109%. Data usage per customer reached 547.4 MBs by March 2016, accounting for a year-on-year growth of 58.7%.
In the last financial year alone, we added 3,117 3G sites across our markets in Africa. We are also looking at steadily enhancing our 4G (FD-LTE) network. We currently have Seychelles, Gabon and Rwanda enabled on 4G.
With over 9 Mn subscribers transacting close to USD 16.9 Bn (Constant Currency) during the year and a presence across all our 17 markets, Airtel Money is ready to move to the next level. Whilst DRC, Zambia, Rwanda and Niger went live on the cross border remittance service, the Airtel / MTN Remittance partnership for Burkina Faso - Ivory Coast and Niger - Benin also became operational during the year. Our strategy for Airtel Money growth is to focus on the ecosystem - expand our retail outlets and merchants.
Under Airtel Rising Stars, Africaís largest youth football property, we continued to focus on identifying and nurturing talent from the grassroots level onto the national and international stage. In 2015, 476,000 boys and girls in 28,000 teams participated in the ARS, which is a 6.25% participation growth year-on-year.
Airtel Africaís Corporate Social Responsibility programmes are focused on health, education, environment and the development of youth. We have had noteworthy success while contributing towards mitigating the Ebola crisis in West Africa which was recognised by the African Union. We are also actively involved in ĎTrain My Generationí, an initiative launched to train youth in ICT, under which 10,000 youth in Chad and Gabon will receive training.
Finally, success for Airtel in Africa will be through nurturing a high performance culture. We have to continue enabling, encouraging and deploying the best in class talent to achieve our goals. In the next fiscal year, our objectives are to grow our market share, reduce waste and accelerate our non-voice business. With our strategic plans and supporting structure already identified, I believe that we are well positioned to achieve our objectives.
I would like to extend my gratitude to our customers, partners for continuing to support us in our journey and look forward to an even more exciting year ahead.
Christian de Faria
Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) B.V.