Airteltigo emerges to douse Orange speculation

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A new entity, Airteltigo, has been announced following the long-awaited merger of the two mobile telecommunication entities, Airtel–operated by Bharti Airtel and Tigo–operated by Millicom Ghana Limited.

Senior management staff of the newly-emerged entity yesterday met employees at a staff durbar to unveil the identity of the new entity and share with the staff the vision of the new company.

Speculations were rife before the unveiling that French telecoms company, Orange, was in pole position to annex the merged entity. But the unveiling done in the presence of workers, senior management members among other key stakeholders, waters down on the speculation of the Orange takeover.

Roshi Motman, former Managing Director of Tigo, who is expected to lead Airteltigo, acknowledged the support of the employees throughout the rather long period of uncertainty–the period between the start of merger talks and to the approval granted by the regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA).

According to her, the new entity, which becomes the second largest mobile telecoms operator in the country after MTN, will rely on the strengths of the workers and abilities of the two former companies to overtake MTN at the top spot.

The staff durbar attended by a majority of workers of the new entity, according to B&FT’s inside sources, was meant to clear clouds of uncertainty that emerge following the commencement of the merger process.

Workers feared that they would be asked to go home as a result of duplication of roles while others left voluntarily to take new opportunities in the midst of the uncertainty. Also, customers of the two entities were largely in the dark over what outcome of the new entity will be and as such yesterday’s event was to assuage the concerns of the customers.

While Airteltigo seems to have hit the ground running, insiders predict Orange or another major telco is not entirely out of the picture and a takeover could still happen in the not-too distant future.

Airteltigo claims second spot

The merger has changed the dynamics of the telecoms landscape – with the new entity becoming the second biggest operator after MTN, which controls almost half of the voice market (47.54 percent).

According to the July 2017, industry data released by the telecoms regulator, Tigo had voice subscribers of 5,360,443 which is about 14.8 percent of the market share whereas Airtel’s 4,236,788, makes up 11.4 percent of the market share.

Thus, the new entity, based on the July figures, should have a little over 9.7 million voice subscribers (26.2 percent) leaving Vodafone’s 8,773,444 (24 percent) at a near distant third on the ranking of market shares.

On the mobile data market share, however, the new entity clearly trumps Vodafone. The merger will see Airtel and Tigo have a combined market share of more than 5.76 million data subscribers as compared to the 3.64 million users of Vodafone, if figures from the NCA is anything to go by.