Airtel joins race to tap Africa's ‘unphoned market’

Bharti Airtel  Steve JurvetsonAirtel will work alongside Movirtu to use Virtual SIM technology to temporarily activate Airtel services on a friends's handset. (Image source: Steve Jurvetson)Mobile network Airtel is seeking to reach out to Africans who cannot afford handsets by entering into partnership with virtual SIM provider Movirtu

The company has signed a deal with the SIM solutions provider which offers telecom services to ‘unphoned’ users across Africa. 

“Having proven the business case, we now plan to roll out Movirtu Share throughout our subsidiaries in Africa,” said Willie Ellis, director of products and innovation at Airtel Group.

“And because Movirtu’s underlying Virtual SIM technology makes it easy for us to dynamically attach/detach numbers to different handsets, we have the option of launching additional services in the future.” 

Airtel has a total of 17 subsidiaries across Africa with a total of 81.5mn subscribers, while Africa which has a population of one billion is projected to have 346mn unique subscribers by the year 2017, Airtel revealed.   

The first virtual SIMS will be rolled out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following Airtel's 'successful launch of the Movirtu Share service in Madagascar'.


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