Airtel Africa extends Google’s African reach

March 1, 2012 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

Airtel Africa have enriched their partnership with Google, aiming to make internet products more accessible to African consumers.

Shivan Bhargava, Airtel Kenya chief opearting officer, says their new 3G network should stir up the local competition. (image:

The two companies have teamed up to launch Google+ and Chat SMS features across the 16 markets in which Airtel operates and plan to continue deepening the strategic relationship to increase affordable and ubiquitous access to the internet and Google products for its end users.

Users can now use Google+ Messenger and Google Chat to communicate between all mobile phones and platforms, even if they are offline or have a SMS and voice only phone.

With Google+ SMS notifications enabling you to post status updates via SMS, users are always connected with their circles.

“We are extremely excited about taking this mutually-beneficial relationship to the next level,” explains Andre Beyers, Airtel Africa’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“By extending our already existing relationship into the future, both Airtel and Google will work together to ensure that we can provide consumers with access to innovative products that will have a positive impact on how they experience the internet.”

Beyers goes on to say that the telecommunications company is in the process of building the largest 3G network across the continent. 3G will transform how subscribers experience the web on internet-enabled cell phones.

“Airtel has always been committed to providing consumers with relevant and innovative products and services,” says Willie Ellis, Airtel Africa’s Group Products & Innovations Director.

“Strategic partnerships will allow us to continue delivering mobile solutions that will improve our customers’ internet experience.”

There are currently about 400 million mobile subscribers in Africa, according to data from McKinsey & Co.  Telecommunications is one of the continent’s fastest growing industries with a rapidly expanding cellular phone market that now includes internet access, mobile banking and mobile commerce.

With this in mind, the telecommunications company has remained committed to deepening its network coverage, bringing communication opportunities to rural populations that have been left out of the telecommunications boost. The telco will work in tandem with Google to provide consumers with internet solutions and products bridging the digital divide.

Staff writer

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