The move, according to a statement from Bharti Airtel, the world’s fourth largest mobile phone operator, will increase its customer base in the country by about 60 per cent.
Warid, the third biggest mobile telephone company in the country, will add its 2.8 million customers to Airtel customer base. With the acquisition of Warid, Airtel now boasts of a total user base of 7.4 million, Bharti said in a statement on Tuesday.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In 2010, Bharti, India’s top mobile phone carrier and ranked number two in Uganda, is said to have invested up to 9 million dollars in what the company called money-losing operations in 15 African countries. It operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa.
According to a press release, the agreement aims to bring together the strengths of Airtel and Warid in Uganda and offer benefits to customers in the form of a superior and wider network, affordable voice and data services, and superior customer care.
Bharti Airtel Mabaging Director Manoj Kohli, is quoted by the Indian media as saying this is the first in-market acquisition in the company’s history. He says the market consolidation offers great synergies by bringing together the best of Airtel and Warid to better serve customers in Uganda.
Mohammed Nahayan, a Board Member at Warid Uganda said he was pleased with the development, which he said offers Warid consumers added benefits like wider network coverage among other benefits. He described it as a win-win situation for Warid customers who will now benefit from being part of a 7.4 million combined user base in Uganda.
Airtel premiered the mobile telephone services in Uganda as Celtel in 1995, some 13 years before Warid joined the industry. Other players in the market include giants MTN, Uganda Telecom and Orange Uganda.