Bharti Airtel acquires Warid Group's Congo operations

Bharti Airtel has agreed to fully acquire Warid Congo SA, part of the African operations of the Warid Group, marking its second in-country acquisition by Airtel in Africa.

The company has entered into a definitive agreement with the Warid Group to fully acquire Warid Congo SA.

The agreement is subject to regulatory and statutory approvals, the company said in a release.

The company did not provide details regarding the value of the deal.

Bharti Airtel had acquired Warid's Uganda operations earlier this year.

The latest acquisition will make Airtel the largest mobile operator in Congo-Brazzaville with around 2.6 million customers.

Airtel is currently the second largest operator in Congo with over 2.6 million customers, while Warid is the third largest with around 1.6 million customers.

''This acquisition is in line with our stated strategy of strengthening our market position through in-country acquisitions, as and when suitable opportunities come along. We are at an advanced stage of successfully integrating Warid's Uganda operations with that of Airtel and look forward to a similarly swift transition in Congo-Brazzaville as well," Manoj Kohli, MD and CEO (International) of Bharti Airtel, said.

Kohli added, "As already demonstrated in Uganda, the merger will bring more value for the customers in the form of affordable data and roaming tariffs, innovative products, Airtel Money, world-class networks and customer care. We would like to express our deep gratitude to the government and look forward to its support to this deal.''

Sriram Yarlagadda, board member, Warid, Congo Brazzaville, said, ''This agreement creates a win-win situation for the customers and provides them with an opportunity to be part of one of the largest mobile services providers in the world. The customers can look forward to enjoy affordable voice tariffs and 3G data services on the most extensive network.''

Bharti Airtel, a leading telecommunications service provider with operations in 20 countries across South Asia and Africa and 259 million subscribers, moved up one notch in the world wide ranking to be the fourth largest mobile operator in the world in terms of subscribers after China Mobile (683.08 million subscribers), Vodafone Group (386.88 million) and America Movil Group (251.83 million).

It is ahead of Telefonica Group, which has 243.51 million subscribers worldwide.

Bharti Airtel became the fifth largest mobile operator in the world following its acquisition of Zain Group's mobile operations across 15 African nations in June 2010.

Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company's product offerings in India include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services (including national and international long distance services to carriers).

In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce.