Leading telecom service provider Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it has touched the 50 million customers mark in Africa, where it acquired telecom operations in a $9 billion debt-funded deal last year.
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"Bharti Airtel Limited today (Wednesday) celebrated a significant milestone when it acquired its 50 millionth mobile customer in Africa. It has achieved this milestone within just 17 months of acquiring Zain's mobile operations in 16 African countries and added 14 million new mobile customers during this period," the company said in a statement.
Airtel Africa has invested approximately $1 billion in the network infrastructure during the current financial year and is launching the same technology currently being rolled out in Europe and the US.
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The organisation has already been awarded 12 3G licenses across its operations and recently launched the first 3G network in Congo. Earlier this year, the company expanded its footprint by securing a license to operate a GSM network in Rwanda.
In addition to building the necessary infrastructure, Airtel has signed agreements with leading companies like Nokia, Samsung and BlackBerry.
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"I would like to thank the governments and regulators for their support and would like to reiterate that we share their vision of bridging the digital divide with affordable telecom services," said Manoj Kohli, chief executive officer (International) and joint managing director, Bharti Airtel Limited.
Africa is home to over one billion people and also the world's youngest population. People under 25 years of age account for 60 per cent of the total population, compared with around 30 per cent in developed countries.