Bharti Airtel, the second-largest telecom operator in India, is often compared to Reliance Jio, which sits at the top in the market in terms of subscribers market share. Both the telcos deploy different strategies for acquiring new customers. Airtel has been one company that has been able to bounce back after the aftermath that Jio’s entry created in the market. The reason why Airtel could do that was believing in its own strategies and creating a good brand and a strong ecosystem for customers.
Recent comments from Sunil Bharti Mittal suggests that Airtel isn’t going to change its strategy anytime soon. The telco isn’t afraid of the affordable 4G smartphone move made by Jio. Reliance Jio is expected to come out with its affordable 4G device by Diwali.
Reliance Jio Only Company to Offer Subsidised Phones in India, Airtel Will Not follow
According to a Financial Express report, at a recently held analyst conference, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said a subsidy-driven subscriber addition model would not work in India, especially when it hasn’t worked in other parts of the world. Thus, Bharti Airtel will not follow Jio in offering a subsidised affordable 4G smartphone or feature phone to customers.
Studying the other markets, it was evident for Airtel that once the subsidies are slowly phased out, customers don’t want to stay in the networks of the company any longer. Consumers tend to switch service providers once the subsidies are driven out.
Thus, the strategy won’t work for the long term, and Bharti Airtel will not entertain it. Further, consumers don’t want to stay with low-end smartphones. As soon as they can, people upgrade to a new and better quality smartphone.
Bharti Airtel will instead develop its own way and method for capturing a larger market share. It is worth noting that while Airtel doesn’t want to follow Jio’s strategy, the company is welcoming of the affordable 4G smartphone that’s about to launch by the festive season of Diwali this year.
Airtel said that it is welcoming of the 4G smartphone developed by Jio and Google because it will push more people to come online. This will not just be beneficial for Jio but also the competitors in the long run.
If rumours are to be believed, Bharti Airtel is looking at partnerships with smartphone makers in a more long-term way. Instead of offering subsidised smartphones, Airtel may partner with the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to offer cashbacks to customers on purchasing SIM locked smartphones.