Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, Thursday introduced the world’s first free intercontinental incoming roaming service by including India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to its current bouquet of ONE NETWORK services for its African customers.
In a press statement here, Airtel said its customers are already enjoying the facility across the company’s mobile network in 17 countries across Africa.
Under the arrangement, Airtel customers in Africa will not need to register for the ONE NETWORK service or buy new SIM cards as they will now be automatically be regarded as ‘citizens’ of Airtel’s borderless network across 20 countries in Africa and Asia.
This offers opportunities to a base of 60 million Airtel customers in Africa to roam at affordable tariffs in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
By offering free incoming calls whilst roaming, the service ups the ante for global telecom providers as the seamless service across continents is a world-first amongst mobile service providers.
This will greatly benefit the travelling population, consisting of tourists, corporates, businessmen and students who want to keep in touch with people back home.
Commenting on the service, Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa, said: “Mobile communication has the ability to connect communities. Airtel’s ONE NETWORK now gives our customers the ability to drastically reduce roaming charges whilst travelling within and across the two continents. Our goal is to provide affordable and relevant mobile communication solutions across borders.”
Within 17 African countries, ONE NETWORK also allows Airtel customers to use their local Airtel SIM cards while abroad, giving them access to attractive rates for calls made, access data, enjoy value added services and recharge using local top up vouchers in the country visited.
The statement said the service is poised to benefit increasing intra-regional trade between Africa and the South Asian nations which currently stands at over US$ 60 billion. Equally, the number of travellers between Africa and the three Asian countries has been growing.
India is the main destination for most African travellers for trade, its tertiary educational institutions and affordable medical facilities.
The countries covered by Airtel One Network Services are Kenya, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.