Bharti Airtel has crossed 50 million subscribers mark in Africa, within 17 months of Zain Telecom’s acquisition, according to the company. The company claims to have added 14 million new mobile customers in this period and invested $1 billion in the network infrastructure during the current financial year.

Bharti Airtel currently operates in 17 countries in the continent including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo B, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and at the time of its last quarterly announcement, it had 48.4 million customers in the continent with 99.3 percent of them being prepaid customers.

Airtel had previously reported total revenues of $ 1030 million with a net loss of $81 million in Africa, by the end of September 2011. It was awarded 3G licenses in 12 countries of the continent and launched its first 3G network in Congo B on October 2011, and licenses to operate 2G and 3G networks in Rwanda for the next 15 years. It also recently launched its Airtel money service in Kenya and Zambia and also tied up with Standard Chartered Bank and MasterCard to launch a virtual card called ‘PayOnline’ allowing Airtel customers to purchase from all online sites where MasterCard is accepted. It also inked deals with companies like Nokia, Samsung and Blackberry to offer handsets with its services and companies such as IBM, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens, Huawei, Spanco, Tech Mahindra and Samsung to offer services to the customers.