MARKETING STRATEGIES OF BHARTI
Under guidance of:
Mrs. Reshma Bhartiya
(TERM PAPER REPORT IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE AWARD OF FULL TIME
B.COM(H) (2015-18) )
AMITY BUSINESS SCHOOL
AMITY UNIVERSITY UTTAR PRADESH LUCKNOW
Certified that this report has been prepared, based on
Term paper project undertaken by Ms. Shreya Mishra
on the topic: “Marketing Strategies of Bharti Airtel”.
The duration of this Project was from 29th
October, 2016 under the able guidance of Dr.
Reshma Bhartiya (Faculty Guide, Amity Business
School) in the partial fulfillment of the requirement for
the award of the degree B.COM (H) from AMITY
UNIVERSITY UTTAR PRADESH.
Ms. Shreya Mishra
Dr. Reshma Bhartiya
Amity Business School, AUUP
I’d like to express my greatest gratitude to the people who have
helped & supported me throughout my project. I’m greatful to
Dr. Reshma Bhartiya (Faculty Guide, Amity Business School)
for his continuous support for the project, from initial advice &
encouragement to this day.
Special thanks of mine goes to my colleague who helped me in
completing the project by giving interesting ideas, thoughts &
made this project easy and accurate.
I wish to thank my parents for their undivided support & interest
who inspired me & encouraged me to go my own way, without
which I would be unable to complete my project. At last but not
least I want to thanks my friends who appreciated me for my
work & motivated me and finally to God who made all the
The Indian telecom industry is the fastest growing industry with an addition of 9- 10
million monthly subscribers. The Indian telecommunications network with over 375
Million subscribers is second largest network in the world after China. Major players
in this sector are BSNL, MTNL, Airtel, Vodafone, BPL, Tata, Idea, etc. Buyer power
and threat of rivalry is very high in Indian Telecom Sector. Both these factors are
formidable. This could be reason of consolidation in the industry. Companies try to
reduce threat of rivalry by merging or buying out rival companies.
Telecom sector is one of the integrated parts of economy of any country and the
Government regulatory and policy initiatives have also been directed towards
establishing a world class infrastructure in India also. It provides an ideal environment
for the investment but it also has a very complex structure. The challenges imposed
on the Indian telecom market are increasing day by day because of the new
technologies and knowledge. The government has taken many proactive initiatives to
facilitate the rapid growth of the Indian telecom industry.
The booming domestic telecom market has been attracting huge amounts of
investment which is likely to accelerate with the entry of new players and launch of
new services. Despite the gloomy outlook owing to the global recession/slowdown in
the economy, the telecom sector of India continues to attract record number of new
subscribers. The Indian mobile phone operators have been adding about 8-10 million
subscribers every month throughout this year, and the figure has regularly topped the
10 million mark during the last three-four months. Considering the current pace of
fresh additions per month, India has the potential of taking the total tally of
subscribers to 700 million in the next five years from the current level of about 350
million, second only to China.
Literature Review of Marketing Strategy
Marketing Strategies of Bharti Airtel
Airtel SWOT Analysis
Competitive advantage in the Marketing strategy of
Current Position in Market
Telecommunication is the transmission of messages over significant distances for the
purpose of communication. In the modern age of electricity, telecommunications has
involved the use of electric means such as the telegraph and telephone, microwave
communications and fiber optics. Telecommunication services have been recognized
world-over as an important tool for socio-economic development of a nation. It is one
of the prime support services needed for rapid growth and modernization of various
sectors of the economy.
The telecommunication industry is vast and offers a wide range of career
opportunities on both the hardware and software fronts. These prospects include
functional jobs in mobile telephony internet protocol media systems, wireless
communications, GSM, GPRS and CDMA technology, VoIP, data networks and
optical networks amongst others. The global leaders in the field are companies like
AT and T, Vodafone, Verizon, SBC Communications and Qwest Communications,
who are all trying to take the advantage of the industry’s spiraling growth. The focus
of telecommunication companies going forward is likely to be on leveraging more
sophisticated telecommunication platforms like broadband technologies, LAN-WAN
inter networking, optical networking, voice over Internet protocol and wireless data
Indian telecommunication sector has undergone a major process of transformation
through significant policy reforms. Driven by various policy initiatives, the Indian
telecommunication sector witnessed a complete transformation in the last decade. It
has achieved a phenomenal growth during the last few years and is poised to take a
big leap in the future also.
Stages of development
Postal communication was the only means of communication until the year 1850. In
1850 experimental electric telegraph started for first time in India between Calcutta
(Kolkata) and Diamond Harbor (southern suburbs of Kolkata, on the banks of the
Hooghly River). In 1851, it was opened for the use of the British East India Company.
Subsequently construction of telegraph started throughout India. A separate
department was opened to the public in 1854. Calcutta or the-then Kolkata was
chosen as it was the capital of British India. In early1881, Oriental Telephone
Company Limited of England opened telephone exchanges at Calcutta (Kolkata),
Bombay (Mumbai), Madras (Chennai) and Ahmedabad. On the 28th January 1882 the
first formal telephone service was established with a total of 93 subscribers.
From the year 1902 India drastically changed from cable telegraph to wireless
telegraph, radio telegraph, radio telephone, trunk dialing. Trunk dialing was used in
India for more than a decade, were the system allowed subscribers to dial calls with
operator assistance and later moved to digital microwave, optical fiber, satellite earth
station. During British period all major cities and towns in India were linked with
In the year 1975 Department of Telecom (DoT) was responsible for
telecommunication services in entire country after separation from Indian Post and
Telecommunication. Decade later Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)
was chipped out of DoT to run the telecommunication services of Delhi and Mumbai.
In 1990s the telecommunication sector was opened up by the Government for private
investment. In 1995 TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) was setup. This
reduced the interference of Government in deciding tariffs and policy making. The
Government of India corporatized the operations wing of DoT in 2000 and renamed
Department of Telecom as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
In last thirteen years many private operator’s especially foreign investors successfully
entered the high potential Indian telecom market. Globally acclaimed operators like
Telenor, NTT Docomo, Vodafone, Sistema, SingTel, Maxis, and Etisalat invested in
India mobile operators.
Milestones in Telecommunication sector
The milestones in the telecommunication sector can be marked by the development of
Wireless Communication, Mobile Communication, Broadband Communication, the
latest Next Generation Networks and Satellites.
Pager Services - Pager communication was successfully launched in India in the year
1995. Pagers were looked upon as devices that offered the much needed mobility in
communication, especially for businesses. Motorola was a major player with nearly
80 per cent of the market share. The other companies included Mobilink, Pagelink,
BPL, Usha Martin telecom and Easy call. Pagers were generally worn on the belt or
carried in the pocket.
The business peaked in 1998 with the subscriber base reaching nearly two million.
However, the number dropped to less than 500,000 in 2002. Pager companies in India
also offered their services in regional languages. But the companies in India were
soon struggling to maintain their business. While two-way pagers could have buffered
the fall, the pager companies were not in a position to upgrade their infrastructure to
improve the ailing market. The Indian Paging Services Association was unable to
support the industry. By 2002, Motorola stopped making or servicing pagers. When
mobile phones were commercially launched in India, the pager companies boasted of
advantages like small size, longer battery life, cheap etc. However, the mobile phones
got better with time and continuously upgraded themselves.
First mobile telephone service on non-commercial basis started in India on 48th
Independence Day at country’s capital Delhi. The first cellular call was made in India
on July 31st, 1995 over Modi Telstra’s MobileNet GSM network of Kolkata. Later
mobile telephone services were divided into multiple zones known as circles.
Competition caused prices to drop and calls across India became one of the cheapest
in the world. Most of the operators follow GSM mobile system operate under
900MHz bandwidth few recent players started operating under 1800MHz bandwidth.
CDMA operators operate under 800Mhz band, they are first to introduce EVDO
based high speed wireless data services via USB dongle. In spite of this huge growth
Indian telecommunication sector is hit by severe spectrum crunch, corruption by the
Indian Government officials and other financial troubles.
In 2008, India entered the 3G arena with the launch of 3G enabled Mobile and Data
services by Government owned MTNL and BSNL. Later from November 2010
private operator’s started to launch their services.
Broadband connectivity is increasingly being seen as an integral driver of the
improved socio-economic performance of a country. After US and Japan, India stands
the third largest Internet users of which 40 per cent of Internet used via mobile
phones. The development of a robust broadband ecosystem is key aim of the country.
Wireless is the quickest and most efficient medium to provide broadband services in
the access network. To ensure broadband coverage, the Government has approved the
creation of a National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) for providing broadband
connectivity in Villages. Several policies have been announced and implemented to
promote broadband in the country. As a result of these the number of broadband
subscribers increased from 0.18 million in 2005 to 22.86 million by 2012.
Next Generation Network (NGN)
Next Generation Networks, multiple access networks can connect customers to a core
network based on IP technology. These access networks include fiber optics or
coaxial cable networks connected to fixed locations or customers connected through
Wi-Fi as well as to 3G networks connected to mobile users. As a result, in the future,
it would be impossible to identify whether the Next Generation Network is a fixed or
mobile network and the wireless access broadband would be used both for fixed and
mobile services. It would then be futile to differentiate between fixed and mobile
networks both fixed and mobile users will access services through a single core
network. Cloud based data services have entered the field.
India has launched more than 50 satellites of various types, since its first attempt in
1975. The organization responsible for Indian satellites is the Indian Space Research
Organization (ISRO). Most Satellites have been launched from various vehicles,
including American, Russian, European satellite-launch rockets, and the U.S. Space
Shuttle. First Indian satellite Aryabhata on 19th April 1975, later Bhaskara, Rohini,
INSAT, Edusat, IRS, GSAT, Kalpana, Cartosat, IMS, Chandrayaan, ResourceSat,
RiSat, AnuSat, etc. India has recently launched its 100th space mission with the
indigenous PSLV-C21 rocket putting in orbit two foreign satellites .This launch has
come as a shot in the arm of India’s fast expanding space and telecommunication
Indian Telecommunication - the present status
The Indian Telecommunications network is the third largest in the world and the
second largest among the emerging economies of Asia. Today, it is the fastest
growing market in the world in terms of number of wireless connections after China.
The Telecommunication sector has continued to emerge as the prime engine of
economic growth, contributing to nearly two per cent of the Indian GDP. Indian
telecommunication sector has undergone a major transformation through significant
policy reforms, particularly under NTP 1999. Driven by various policy initiatives, the
Indian telecommunication sector has achieved a phenomenal growth during the last
Literature Review of Marketing
Marketing strategy represents a key element of success for organizations. Executing
an effective marketing strategy is just as important as conceptualizing and creating it.
Through marketing strategy implementation firms employ scarce resources through
marketing capabilities in order to attain the set goals and targets. In order to illustrate
the value of marketing strategy and the process of implementation a detailed literature
review was performed. A total of (Number of Studies Depending On the References
Count, After Employee Deletion) studies on the topic of marketing strategy have been
examined. The meta-analysis uncovers two distinct but related features to marketing
strategy content: marketing strategy decisions and marketing strategy decision
implementation. The literature also suggests there is a relationship of marketing
strategy, and marketing mix elements on organizational performance, and emphasizes
a further need to perform conceptual and empirical studies. The originality and value
of the review lies in the fact that marketing strategy has been analyzed both in terms of
its outcomes and as a process that does not yield satisfactory results without effective
Company marketing strategy is an important and crucial constituent for the global
market. Marketing strategies can vary from country to country, brand to brand and
organization to organization. In order to achieve a satisfactory and adequate marketing
strategy which has a positive outcome on global and overall firm success, the
marketing department within a company should bear in mind all the different
marketing mix strategies that can influence the comprehensive result and the
cumulative firm success. When launching a product into foreign markets companies
can use a conventional marketing mix or adapt the existing marketing mix, to satisfy
the country they are carrying out their business activities in. the link between
standardization/adaptation and company performance is complicated and possibly
influenced by other factors (Shilke, Reiman, Thomas, 2009, Solberg, Durrieu, 2008). It
should be emphasized that the influence of standardization/adaptation decisions of
international marketing strategy on company performance is named also as one of the
most topical research objects of international business (Griffith, Cavusgil, Xu, 2008).
Therefore inconsistent results of empirical research works and limited research
contexts confirm that the link between standardization/adaption decisions of
international marketing strategy and company performance are a topical object of
scientific research (Ryans, Griffith, White, 2003, Theodosiou, Leonidou, 2003).
The Conceptof Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategy is a significant driving force that distinguishes the success of many
organizations not only by well-developed marketing strategies outlining where, when,
and how the firm will compete but also by their ability to execute the marketing
strategy decision options chosen (e.g. Day and Wensley 1988; Varadarajan 2010). The
appropriate and effectively implemented marketing strategies are required to
productively guide the deployment of the limited available resources via the firm’s
marketing capabilities in pursuit of desired goals and objectives (Black and Boal 1994;
Varadarajan and Clark 1994). The literature reveals two distinct but related features to
marketing strategy content: marketing strategy decisions and marketing strategy
decision implementation. Hence, decision makers responsible for the marketing
strategy must select which available resources the firm should deploy, where to deploy
them appropriately, and set and signal priorities in terms of achieving the various goals
and objectives of the firm (Slater 1995). These marketing strategies toward firm
performance may be either formal, top-down strategies (Varadarajan and Clark 1994)
or emergent or improvisational strategies (Moorman and Miner 1998). A firm’s
marketing strategy content therefore involves explicit or implicit decisions regarding
goal setting, target market selection, positional advantage to be pursued, and timing to
attain firm performance (e.g., Day 1994; Varadarajan 2010).
Literature reveals that most studies concentrate on factors that influence the selection
of a certain strategy, and they seek to recognize forces that stimulate standardization or
adaptation. Nevertheless, the validity of the choice of standardization or adaptation
strategy is determined by its potential to improve company performance (Samie &
Roth, 1992). Jain (1989) states that suitability of an international marketing strategy is
confirmed by the strategy’s influence on the company performance – economic and
strategic benefit, received due to implementation of the chosen strategy.
Adaptation transpires when firms adjust their market strategies when entering foreign
markets, even in an era of globalization where many brands and products are nearly
universally prevalent. Those adaptation decisions cleave into an adaptation strategy
that can influence the firm’s competitiveness and, in turn, its performance in foreign
markets in terms of sales, financial and customer performance. Adaptation strategies
encompass changing the pricing method, promotional mix and packaging of a product,
or even the product itself, in order to fit the needs and preferences of a particular
export market. Adaptation happens when any element of the marketing strategy is
modified to achieve a competitive advantage when entering a foreign market and thus
attain firm performance. Adaptation strategies may not be so complex but a simple
tweaking of the logo and the colours of the packaging can achieve the marketing
objectives, or may involve developing new products better fitted to the local palate or
new financing models more fitting for the local economy or market.
Proponents of the international marketing adaptation approach, emphasize the
significance of customization to meet varied customer requirements. The central basis
of the adaptation school of thought is that when entering a foreign market, marketers
must consider all environmental factors and constraints such as religion, language,
climate, race, occupations, education, taste, different laws, cultures, and societies
(Czinkota and Ronkainen, 1998). However, researchers have distinguished important
source of constraints that are hard to measure such as cultural differences rooted in
history, education, religion, values and attitudes, manners and customs, aesthetics as
well as variations in taste, needs and wants, economics and legal systems in the export
markets. In adaptation approach “multinational companies should have to find out how
they must adjust an entire marketing strategy and, including how they sell, distribute it,
in order to fit new market demands” (Vrontis and Thrassou, 2007). It is crucial for
marketers to adjust the marketing mix and marketing strategy to suit local tastes, meet
special market needs and consumers’ non-identical requirements (Vrontis and
The mechanisms to implementing a successful adaptation strategy as a follow; once a
firm has taken the strategic decision to adapt its marketing strategy, it must make an
assessment of its objectives and resources in light of the characteristics of the new
foreign market it is entering. At this stage, the input from experts familiar with the new
market is crucial in developing an effective strategy. In the example of a new product
introduction in the domestic market, the adapted marketing strategy must be articulated
in terms of the marketing strategy elements namely product, price, distribution and
promotional aspects, all coordinated to achieve specific objectives within the new
The opposite of adaptation is standardization approach of marketing. Firms following a
standardization approach enter foreign markets using the same promotional mix,
packages and presentations that were used in the domestic market to lure customers in
the export market. Because making new advertisements, packages and product lines is
expensive, standardization requires less investment compared to adaptation approach
of marketing. The view of the standardization standpoint (as proposed by Jain, 1989;
Levitt, 1983) posit that there is a union of cultures with comparable environmental and
customer interest around the globe that calls for standardized products across export
markets. The proponents in this approach argue that trade barriers are getting lower
and that technological capability advances and firms are presenting a global orientation
in their marketing strategy. Also, the proponents of a standardization approach argue
that it allows for the presentation of a consistent image across countries. Therefore,
marketers in the global oriented environment are creating one strategy for the global
market and standardizing the marketing mix elements namely product, price,
promotion and place to achieve consistency with customers as well as enjoying
economies of scale through lower costs. According to Levitt (1983) companies that are
marketed well have moved away from customizing items to offering globally
standardized products that are advanced, functional, reliable and low priced. The
author adds that companies can achieve long-term performance by directing their
marketing activities on what everyone wants rather than worrying about the particulars
of what everyone thinks they might like which can be costly to cater when following
Standardization and adaptation of the 4Ps
The product itself is at the beginning of marketing strategy efforts toward firm
performance and is the heart of brand because it is the primary impact on what
consumers experience with a product or rather a brand, what they heard about the
product from others through word of mouth, and what the firm can win customers
about their product in their communications. Therefore, designing and delivering a
product or service that fully satisfies customer needs and wants is a prerequisite for
successful marketing strategy implementation, regardless of whether the product is a
tangible good, service, or organization. According to Keller, (2003) in order to create
brand loyalty, consumers’ experiences with the product must, at least, meet, if not
actually exceed, their expectations. Customer satisfaction is determined by exceeding
The image of the product is paramount to winning customers in international markets.
According to Doole and Lowe (2004) product image is one of the most powerful
points of differentiation for consumers. Image positioning has an influence on the
consumer and buyer behavior. Because the aspiration and achiever groups of
purchasers wish to belong to particular worldwide customers segments and are keen to
purchase products which are associated with that group. Then again, company image is
becoming increasingly important aspect of international marketing strategy in creating
a central theme running through diverse product ranges that reinforces the vision and
the values of the company which can be recognized by employees and customers alike.
For this reason many companies have spent considerable effort and adequate resources
on controlling and improving the corporate identity through consistent style and
The second P of the marketing mix elements is price. Of all the aspects of the
marketing mix, price is the one, which creates sales revenue to the firm – all the other
elements are costs. The price of an item is clearly an important determinant of the
value of sales made. In theory, price is really determined by the discovery of the value
perception of the item on sale by customers. Thus far, marketing managers must
develop the habit of continually examining and re-examining the prices of the products
and services they sell to ensure the firm’s prices are still appropriate to the realities of
the current market situation. Sometimes it is necessary to lower prices depending on
market demand fluctuations and intensity of competition. At other times, it may be
suitable to raise the prices all depending on market circumstances. Many companies
have found that the amount of effort and resources that go into producing the products
do not justify the profitability of certain products or services. Hence, by raising their
prices, they may lose a percentage of their market share, but the remaining percentage
of the market share can still generate profit on every sale.
It is crucial to research on consumers’ opinions about the firm’s pricing decisions,
because it indicates how consumers value what they are looking for as well as what
they want to pay. An organization’s pricing policy therefore will vary according to
time and circumstances of the market. Companies need to change their terms and
conditions of sale to maximise the sales volume and profitability. Some other market
situations will push the firm to spread its price over a series of months or years, with
aim of selling far more than the current sales figures, and the firm can charge interest
more than the make up for the delay in cash receipts. Another pricing option is to
combine products and services together with special offers and special promotions. In
addition, a firm can include free additional items that cost very little to produce but the
firm can make its prices appear far more attractive to its customers than rivalries.
Generally, in business, whenever the firm experience resistance or frustration in any
part of its sales or marketing strategy it should be open to revisiting that area. The firm
should be considerate to the possibility that its current pricing structure is not ideal for
the current market. Therefore, the firm must be open to the need to revise its prices, if
necessary, to remain competitive, to survive and perform in a fast-changing
The fourth P in the marketing mix is the place which is also known as distribution. It is
concerned with the availability of products or services to customers. In order to
implement a successful marketing strategy, it is important to form the habit of
evaluating and reflecting upon the exact location where the customer meets the
salesperson in which products and services are converted into cash. Sometimes a
change in distribution channels can lead to a rapid increase in sales, although figures
vary widely from product to product, as it can be costly in getting the product to the
customer. Place encompasses of various methods of transporting and storing goods,
and then making them available for the customer. The success formula is getting the
right product to the right place at the right time through effective distribution systems.
The choice of distribution method will depend on a variety of circumstances.
Marketers can choose to sell their product in many different places. Some companies
prefer direct marketing, in which the salespersons are sending out to personally meet
and talk with the potential customers. While some companies sell by telemarketing.
Furthermore, place or distribution channels occurs in other various methods such as
selling through catalogues or mail order, sell at trade shows or in retail establishments,
sell in joint ventures with other similar products or services, some companies use
manufacturers’ representatives or distributors and others use a combination of one or
more of these methods. In each case, the marketer must make the right decision about
the very best location or place for the customer to receive essential buying information
on the product or service needed to make a buying decision. The critical questions are
asking what your effective distribution channel is. In what way should you change or
improve it? Where else could you offer your products or services? It is quite known
that a good product may not be accepted by a market if it is not properly made
available in convenient places. All products need effective distribution structures
(Onkvisit and Shaw, 1993). Every company must manage smoothly the distribution, or
the flow of products to the end consumer. Marketing channels can be viewed as sets of
independent organizations involved in the process of making a product or service
available for use or consumption to profitable markets. However distribution channels
is not only concerned to satisfy market demand by supplying goods and services at the
right place, quantity, quality, and price, but they also stimulate market demand through
the third P which is promotional activities of the units (e.g., retailers, manufacturers’
representatives, sales offices, and wholesalers) comprising them. Therefore the choice
of distribution should be viewed as an orchestrated network that creates value for user
or consumer through the generation of form, possession, time, and place utilities (Stern
and El-Ansary, 1988).
Distribution channels comprise a host of different institutions and agencies. Among the
most prominent structures of these are retailers, wholesalers, common and contract
carriers, public warehouses, and distribution centers. Companies can utilize to deliver a
product to consumers by using various types of middlemen. Companies face a number
of problems in designing and implementing a distribution strategy in the international
market because of different geographic areas, the varying expectations of distribution
partners, differences in competitive structure, and the dimensions of the macro-
environment, such as legal regulations, culture-specific buying habits or the level of
economic development, relevant to the company’s business (Mühlbacher et. al., 1999).
As introduced above, there are two main type of distribution channels: Direct and
indirect channels. There are two ways to distribute goods; directly to the final customer
or indirectly through a more complex system that employs intermediaries. Direct
channels of marketing involve selling through personal contacts from company to
prospective customers by mail, phone, and personal visits. Indirect channels of
marketing involve selling through third party intermediaries such as agents or broker
representatives, wholesalers or distributors, and retailers or dealer. Wholesalers buy
products in bulk from the manufacturer to make them available for retailers and sell
products to other channel members in smaller quantities. Retailers are useful
intermediary in handling transactions with final consumers. While, direct channel
facilitates corporate control and motivation of system members. A member here can be
a company employee that monitor distribution activities and use the authority of the
company to influence the behavior of distribution personnel. The opposite of direct
channel is indirect channel which are not directly controlled by the company. The
company uses intermediaries to contact with the final customers.
Airtel adopted the free form A to represent the relationship without boundaries that
the company has with its customers. It is also meant to convey the idea of freedom or
not being confined within the space of a closed circle or box. It is meant to be a
symbol that invites people into the Airtel family. The full name of the company is
Bharti Airtel. It is based in India, but has customers throughout India, Bangladesh, Sri
Lanka and Africa. The new logo was designed to celebrate the company passing the
200 million customer mark. The company is also making a push for a global presence
and wanted to create a logo that conveyed this to customers all over the world. As
well, it wanted to present itself as a youthful company because it believes that society
as a whole is experiencing a youth renaissance in which even older people are
embracing more youthful ideas and habits. Airtel aspires to marry those youthful
tendencies with its services with the hope of increasing profit margins.
Mission –“Hunger to win customers for life.”
Vision- “Our vision is to enrich the lives of our customers. Our
obsession is to win customers for life through an exceptional
Tagline – “The smartphone Network”.
Bharti Airtel Limited is an global telecommunications services company which is
based in New Delhi, India. Airtel offers GSM, 4G and 3G LTE mobile services, voice
services and fixed line broadband depending upon the country’s operation. It is one of
the largest mobile network operators in India. It is the third largest in the world with
325 million subscribers. In the first Brandz ranking by WPP plc. and Millward
Brown, Airtel was named India's second most valuable brand. It operates in eighteen
countries across South Asia, Africa, and the Channel Islands.
Airtel is credited with pioneering the business strategy of outsourcing all of its
business operations except marketing, finance and sales and building the 'minutes
factory' model of high volumes and low cost. The strategy has since been adopted by
several operators in India.
The transmission towers are maintained by joint venture companies and subsidiaries
of Bharti including Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel in India.
Airtel's equipments are being provided and maintained by Nokia Solutions and
Networks and Ericsson whereas IT support is being provided by IBM.
In 1984, Mr. Sunil Mittal started assembling push-button phones in India for the first
time, which he earlier used to import from Kingtel, a Taiwan company replacing the
old fashioned, bulky rotary phones that were in use in India then. Bharti Telecom
Limited was incorporated and entered into a technical tie up with Siemens AG of
Germany for manufacture of electronic push button phones. By the early 1990s,
Bharti was making cordless phones, fax machines and other telecom gear. He called
his first push-button phones as 'Mitbrau'.
In 1992, he successfully bid for one of the four mobile phone network licences
auctioned in India. One of the conditions for the Delhi cellular license was that the
bidder has some experience as a telecom operator. So, Mittal secured a deal with the
telecom group 'Vivendi' of France. He was one of the first Indian entrepreneurs to
identify the mobile telecom business as a major growth area in India. His plans were
finally approved by the Government of India in 1994 and he launched services in
Delhi in 1995, when Bharti Cellular Limited was established to offer cellular services
under the brand name AirTel. In a few years, Bharti became the first telecom
company to cross the two million mobile subscriber mark in India. Bharti also
managed to bring down the STD/ISD cellular rates under brand name 'Indiaone' in
In 1999, Bharti Enterprises obtained control of JT Holdings, and extended cellular
operations to Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In 2000,in Chennai, Bharti obtained
control of Skycell Communications. In 2001, in Kolkata ,the company obtained
control of Spice Cell. In 2002, Bharti Enterprises went public and the company was
in the list of National Stock Exchange of India and Bombay Stock Exchange. In 2003,
the cellular phone operations were re-branded under the one single Airtel brand in
India. In 2004, Bharti obtained control on Hexacom and managed to enter Rajasthan.
Bharti extended its network to Andaman and Nicobar successfully in 2005. This
expansion permitted it to offer voice services all over India.
Airtel launched "Hello Tunes" which was a Caller ring back tone service, in July 2004
becoming to the first operator in India to do so. The Airtel theme song which was
composed by A.R. Rahman, was the most popular tune on that year.
In May 2008, it appeared that Airtel was checking the possibility of purchasing the
MTN Group. It was a South Africa-based telecommunications company which had
coverage in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Financial Times reported
that “Bharti was considering offering US$45 billion for a 100% stake in MTN, which
would be the largest overseas acquisition ever by an Indian firm. However, both sides
emphasis the provisional nature of the talks, while The Economist magazine
published, "If anything, Bharti would be marrying up," as MTN has more subscribers,
broader geographic coverage and higher revenues. However, the talks fell apart as
MTN Group tried to reverse the negotiations by making Bharti almost a subsidiary of
the new company. In May 2009, Airtel again confirmed that it was in conversations
with MTN and the companies agreed to discuss the possible transaction exclusively
by 31 July 2009. Conversations eventually ended without agreement, some sources
stating that this was due to opposition from the South African government.
In 2009, Bharti negotiated for its strategic partner Alcatel-Lucent to manage the
network infrastructure for the fixed line business. Later, Bharti Airtel awarded the
three-year contract to Alcatel-Lucent for setting up an Internet Protocol access
network across the country. This would definitely help consumers’ access internet at
faster speed and high quality internet browsing on mobile handsets.
In 2009, Bharti negotiated for its strategic partner Alcatel-Lucent to be in charge of
the network infrastructure for the fixed line business. Later, Bharti Airtel awarded the
three year contract to Alcatel-Lucent for setting up an Internet Protocol access
network in the country. This would help consumers access internet services at faster
speed and higher quality internet browsing on mobile handsets.
In 2009, Airtel launched its first international mobile network in Sri Lanka. In June
2010, Bhartil acquired the African business of Zain Telecom for $10.7 billion making
it the largest ever acquisition by an Indian telecom firm. In 2012, Bharti tied up
with Wal-Mart, the US retail giant, to start a number of retail stores across India. In
2014, Bharti planned to acquire Loop Mobile for 7 billion (US$100 million), but the
deal was called off later.
Bharti Airtel Limited ("Airtel"), the world's third largest mobile operator with
operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today said that its Treasury division
has been adjudged as a highly commended winner of the Top Treasury Team (Asia)
Awards at the Adam Smith Asia Awards 2015.
Airtel has two distinct Customer Business Units (CBU) with focus on B2C (Business
to Customer) and B2B (Business to Business) segments. Airtel's B2C business unit
deals with servicing the retail consumers, homes and small offices providing mobile,
fixed line, DTH and m-commerce services while the B2B unit deals with large
Airtel is the one of the largest mobile operator in the world in terms of subscriber base
and has a commercial presence in 20 countries and the Channel Islands; Baysquare
Technology developed a Settlement and Reconciliation Tool (SRT) to reconcile from
various data streams. The system was developed to match the calls being captured by
the network elements and the calls getting rated, i.e. ensuring that operator is billing
all calls its serves and also it is paying out to other operators the correct billing
Its area of operations includes:
The Indian Subcontinent:
Airtel India, in India
Airtel Sri Lanka, in Sri Lanka
Airtel Bangladesh, in Bangladesh
Airtel Africa, which operates in 17 African countries:
Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the
Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda,
Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The British Crown Dependency islands of Jersey and Guernsey, under the
brand name Airtel-Vodafone, through an agreement with Vodafone.
Marketing Strategies of Bharti Airtel
Airtel is the world’s 3rd largest mobile telecommunication Indian MNC operating in
20 countries across Asia & Africa. Airtel has presence in 22 telecom circles across
India & is India’s largest integrated telecom service provider.
Segmentation, targeting, positioning in the Marketing
strategy of Airtel
Airtel uses mix of segmentation strategies to segment its offerings like basic Call
/SMS plans, prepaid / Post-paid plans, VAS – Data, caller tunes etc. Apart from
geographically segmenting the market in East, West, North, South & central, the
market is also segmented in each region on the basis of demographic variables like
age, Income, Social groups.
Different geographic regions are handled independently and different campaigns are
run according to the preferences of people in each region. Airtel has targeted the
generation Z of 15-25 ages, generation X & baby Boomers by using different
campaigns over the period of time i.e. campaign like “Har Ek friend Jaruri hota hai”/
“Jo tera hai wo mera hai ” to target Gen Z and recently launched campaign of “one
touch internet” targeting Gen X & baby boomers.
Airtel has been successful in top-of-the-mind recall amongst cellular phone users and
is enjoying a leadership position in most markets. After changing its logo it has
repositioned itself as Young, Energetic & International brand. It has evolved itself as
a torch bearer of the telecom industry in India.
Marketing mix of Airtel
Bharti Airtel Limited (Bharti Airtel) is one of India’s most popular providers of
integrated telecommunication services and is based in India and headquartered in
New Delhi. Basically, the company is tasked with the work of operating
telecommunication services in the larger Indian subcontinent. The company’s
business services include mobile services, enterprise services and Telemedia services.
The mobile services comprise of fixed wireless services and mobile services which
use GSM network technology across major telecommunication circles in the country.
With a Pan-India presence, Airtel an established player in providing 3G services is
now planning aggressively to roll out its 4G services in a phased manner. These
services are now available in metros and big cities like Bangalore and Mumbai. The
company also provides world class landline telephone and broadband services and the
enterprise unit across 95 cities in India. Some of Bharti Airtel competitors include the
Reliance Communications Limited
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
Vodafone (strongest competitor)
Products in the marketing mix of Airtel
The company provides a wide array of products and services. In order to retain the
maximum number of customers, Airtel has tried to provide as many products and
services as possible in order to keep the customers. The following is a list of its
Airtel Pre-paid services
Blackberry Wireless Handheld
Airtel Post-paid services
Value added services like instant balance inquiry, caller line identification, 24
hour recharge facility, multimedia messaging service, call wait & call Hold, Caller
divert, Airtel Live portal
SMS based information services
Voice mail services
Hello tunes, Ring tones,
Ringtones and hello tunes offers
Easy post-pay bill payment solutions
Place in the marketing mix of Airtel
Airtel’s penetration in India is quite impressive because the services and networks can
be found even in India’s remotest regions. Currently, gross subscriber base has pass
the 200 million mark while the total wireless subscriber base for CDMA, GSM and
WLL is about 162 million. Clearly, the customer base of Airtel is strong in India. It is
also worth mentioning that millions of the network’s lines are added per year.
Airtel enjoys a well distributed network of distributors including even businesses like
groceries and chemist outlets. One of the things that have made Bharti Airtel a force
to reckon in telecommunication industry in India and Africa is that it has the strategy
of making the first moves and emerging as a winner. It has managed to buy Kuwait’s
Zain and Tata steel in the past, making it a top 5 wireless carrier in the world by
Wider distribution network as compared to competitors
Network is widespread bringing many customers daily to Airtel
Fourth largest mobile operator in the world with presence in 20 countries
Promotion in the Marketing mix of Airtel
Airtel engages in aggressive marketing strategy ranging from traditional print media
to social network marketing. However, the company’s recent rebranding efforts
bombed in the market and were not received positively. The company also engages in
large scale TV and print advertising. The company frequently uses big celebrities who
endorse the services. The company also managed to create its signature tune from
Oscar winning musician A.R.Rahman which has become one of the most downloaded
tunes in India.
It is also interesting to note that even such seemingly redundant activities like
providing wallpapers and screensavers to computer users has proved a very effective
marketing strategy. The company also offers special discounts and offers to its
Apart from that Airtel has been hiring several figures from Bollywood right from the
legendary Amitabh Bachhan to Vidya Balan as their brand ambassadors. The God of
cricket, Sachin Tendulkar too has been a part of their advertisement campaigns too.
The advantage of Airtel is that I goes regional with its advertisement efforts.
Some salient points about the promotions of Airtel are
Uses ATL and BTL activities
Makes an effort to go regional
Recent rebranding effort has failed in the market
Has good word of mouth and a good brand image second only to Vodafone.
Price in the marketing mix of Airtel
The company uses competitive pricing strategy just like any other network providers
because of the competition which is present in this sector. However, Airtel also
provides flexible pricing mechanism depending on the prevailing market conditions.
For instance, when the company relaxes taxation, it also reduces its prices across all
affected products. The make my plan introduced by Airtel was a smart strategy as
customers could now modify their plan as they see fit.
Airtel SWOT analysis
One of the top telecommunication companies in India, Airtel has spread across far
and wide in the last 2 decades of its existence. The company is known for its
availability and its smart range of value added services. Here we present you the
SWOT analysis of Airtel to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats for the company.
Strengths in the SWOT analysis of Airtel
1. Renowned Telecom company: With its 19+ years of rich experience in
telecom industry this MNC had travelled far to become world’s 3rd largest
telecom operator overseas with operations in nearly 20 countries.
2. High Brand Equity: It is one of the pioneer brands in telecommunication
having a high brand recall and with a whopping subscriber base.
3. Extensive infrastructure: With the formation of Indus tower & due to its
partnership with Idea & Vodafone, the infrastructure of Airtel has extended in all
parts of the country resulting into nationwide penetration.
4. Strategic Alliances: The company has top notch stakeholders, namely Sony
Ericsson, Nokia and singtel, and the recent one being Apple. Such strategic
alliances boost the brand equity and the bottom line of the company.
5. Torchbearer of the telecom Industry: With its number 1 spot due to its
excellent services in developing economies, Airtel has interconnected the life of
people in an highly efficient way. Thus, where Vodafone is an external entrant,
Airtel is a leading nationwide player in India and the torchbearer of the telecom
industry in India.
Weaknesses in the SWOT analysis of Airtel
1. Outsourced Operations: Outsourcing operations helped Airtel in lowering its
cost. But on the other hand, they are running the risk of being dependent on some
other companies which may affect its operations.
2. Venturing into African operations: Although it’s been 4 years that Airtel
has acquired Zain’s Africa business, but Airtel is still struggling to turn around the
unit which was bought at a whoppy 9 billion dollars.
3. High Debt: With its acquisitions turning out to bad investment, and credit
being high and margins being low, Airtel group is under high debt. Airtel does not
have as deep pockets as Vodafone.
Opportunities in the SWOT analysis of Airtel
1. Strategic Partnership: Partnering with smart phone companies is going to be
a smart strategy as far as MNP (mobile number portability in India) is concerned.
This will ensure fixed cash flows in the future and a higher customer base.
2. Market Development: With fierce competition in the telecom industry &
shrinking margins, venturing out in new markets/developing economies will
prove fruitful for the company.
3. VAS: VAS (Value Added services) is going to future of the
telecommunication industry & by specializing itself in this vertical Airtel can
differentiate itself in highly competitive market. With introduction of unique
services, Airtel can avail higher margins.
4. Untapped geography of the current market: Although it is currently
providing 3G & 4G services, but these services are limited to specific
geographical locations. Expansion of these services to most of its regions will
help the company get more margins and customers.
5. LTE: The whole wireless world is moving towards LTE (long term evolution
or 4G). LTE for mobile broadband can be a good solution for India where fixed
broadband penetration is otherwise low. Airtel has taken the lead with this version
of LTE in 4 cities, but deployment needs to catch up pace. Despite a weak LTE
ecosystem in India, Airtel should portray itself as the embracer of that technology.
The company lacks nationwide 3G license with spectrum in 13 out of 22 telecom
service areas. Airtel’s LTE network for mobile broadband is still confined to only
4 cities in India.
Threats in the SWOT analysis of Airtel
1. Government Regulatory Framework: With the auction of spectrum &
change in the government policies on a regular basis, it is a potential threat to the
stability & existence of this industry thereby affecting the players.
2. Competition: Price war in the home market and declining margins due to this
is adversely affecting the overall business of the group.
3. MNP (Mobile number portability): MNP gives the customer independence
to change the service provider while retaining the number and as Airtel charges
are premium over other service providers, it can see slump in subscriber base in
the next fiscal year with PAN India MNP applicable from May 3rd 2015.
Competitive advantage in the Marketing
strategy of Airtel
With the formation of Indus tower & partnering with Idea & Vodafone for Indian
Operations, Airtel has extended its infrastructure in the extreme parts of the country
for nationwide penetration, creating competitive edge over other players in terms of
low operational cost, better network connectivity, coverage, low call drops & better
Airtel developed a sustainable advantage through its excellent network of telecom
towers. In many locations, newer entrants found it cheaper to rent Airtel’s
existing infrastructure rather than setup new towers. Also spending extensively on
advertising & promotions helped it to become a market leader. Word of mouth is one
of the strongest forms of promotions & Airtel has completely leveraged that. Airtel is
always known for its innovation and some of its products were the lifetime prepaid,
Airtel live, Hello tunes, My Plans, M-check are pioneer strategies & the list is never
BCG Matrix in the Marketing strategy of Airtel
Airtel have 4 SBU’s (Strategic business unit) which occupies different places in BCG
Mobile services are stars, as it is operating in 22-telecom circles of India and is the
largest mobile service provider in the country, based on the number of customers &
(22.7 %) market share.
Tele-media services – fixed-line services are dogs since there is a phenomenal
decrease in the services in the industry as a whole.
High-speed broadband which is question mark since it has best in class network
with 126,357Rkm of fibre laid down but still they have presence in only 87 metros &
tier-1 city further investment can increase their market share & will help it to move to
Airtel business to large enterprise is question mark, although it provides a broad
portfolio of services to large Enterprise, Government, Small & Medium businesses
and carrier customersbut the services offered by Airtel are expensive as compared to
Digital TV services are stars, Airtel have 18% market share in the DTH services
second to only Dish TV & have head on competition with TATA sky.
Distribution strategy in the Marketing strategy
It has wide spread simple and effective channel structure. Company uses 2-Tier & 3-
tier distribution network system.
Under 2-tier distribution network, company appoints UD (urban distributors) & RS
(Rural Suppliers). UD distribute the items to retailers according to the demand &
transfer easy balance to retailer through FOS (Field officer Sales) SIM who work
Under 3-tier distribution RS (rural supers) distributes the items to RD (Rural
Distributors) & transfer easy balance into RD’s SIM, who then distribute it to
Apart from all these company also uses Airtel Relationship centers under franchised
model & company officials for corporate sales.
Brand equity in the Marketing strategy of Airtel
High TOMA (Top of mind awareness), ARPU (average revenue per user), and
extensive distribution system & as high as 300+ million subscribers has helped Airtel
in crafting market leader position for itself over the years. Also Airtel has shifted from
a technological brand to a communication brand through its continuous evolving
branding & marketing efforts. It has rechristened its logo to make it more of
international, young & Energetic brand.
Competitive analysis in the Marketing strategy of Airtel
Being the torchbearer of the telecom industry in India it has reshaped the telecom
industry over the years. From tele-density of just 18.3 % in FY’07 to 75.2 FY’14
(DOT data), industry has seen a high growth momentum. Reliance which initially
targeted the B & C customer segments, lost its market share to new & existing players
like Idea, Vodafone, Tata-Docomo, and BSNL etc. due to Network & customer
service issue. In wireless data services players like MTS, TATA Indicom have high
market share in the selected circles whereas Airtel is still figuring out to establish
itself due to High data charges.
Market analysis in the Marketing strategy of Airtel
In the highly competitive telecom market where each company is trying hard to retain
their customers & increase ARPU (Average return per user), Airtel is facing stiff
competition from small & local players like Uninor, Aircel who are present in few
circles. Also players like Vodafone who are fighting head on to emerge as a market
leader possess a serious threat to the company.
Connectivity, data services & VAS (Value added services) will be the driving force of
the telecom industry.
Customer analysis in the Marketing strategy of Airtel
Customers group consist of all 3 segments A, B & C with their distinctive needs but
majorly it is targeting B segment which is Middle class with aspirational needs & is
the fastest growing segment. To cater the corporates clients & A-class they have
dedicated workforce. Airtel deals in both B2C & B2B customers.
Methodology is the systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field
of study. It comprises the theoretical analysis of the body of methods and principles
associated with a branch of knowledge. Typically, it encompasses concepts such
as paradigm, theoretical model, phases and quantitative or qualitative techniques.
A methodology does not set out to provide solutions - it is, therefore, not the same as
a method. Instead, a methodology offers the theoretical underpinning for
understanding which method, set of methods, or best practices can be applied to
specific case, for example, to calculate a specific result.
My methodology adopted for this profect is exploratory in nature since there is
hypothesis that has to be tested. The conclusions has been drawn by exploratory
I have met the retailers of the Airtel of the company and have been able to get the first
hand information regarding the product, its features and the buying patterns of the
product. Their input has been valuable.
Secondary source has played a vital role in this report. A good amount of data has
been collected from various published articles and reports found in magzines and
journals. Another vital sources has been the Internet and particularly the company’s
Liberalization of the telecommunications market has entered a new phase: competition
already exists (albeit in limited form) in some markets, such as the long-distance market
and the market for Internet access via the STN. Other segments, such as the local loop
(essentially the high-speed Internet access market), are being opened up. At this stage, it
is no longer simply a question of opening up particular markets, but rather,
consolidating the play of c ompetition in those markets that hav e bee n
opened as w ell as dev eloping competitive new services. This explains the
importance of high-speed access technologies for the future of the sector. To face up to
these challenges, regulatory activity is changing. It is constantly adapting to market
trends and to economic situations, which are often difficult. Among its priorities it now
counts new economic and social concerns as the information society develops: national
coverage is a major issue and Airtel ’intends to play its part to protect the interests of all
To this backdrop, a new regulatory organization is emerging. It must
supply regulatory activity with new tools to encourage lasting competition in the
telecommunications sector. It must also contribute to the development of a
more consistent UP west market that is better able to face up to the
challenges of the information society within the context of globalization.
After thorough analysis and interpretation of result obtained I st udied
overall consumer trends in Airtel Telecommunication Ltd. How people
react to its services and schemes.
How co mpa ny at trac t its c us to me r b y adopt ing e ffect ive st rate gie
s. I n t he las t t he conclusion is drawn through this research that being
the biggest and oldest network of mobile telecommunication in Uttar Pradesh
West, having good quality of service, taking along a big part of people aware about
Airtel, it is subsisting hard. For Airtel connection most of customers are professional
and business segment.
Parts of this project have been referred from foreign sources and
have been included in this investigatory project after editing.
The references of the sources are as follows: