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Airtel appoints Jinesh Hegde as CEO of Sri Lanka operations

jinesh hegde

Bharti Airtel has appointed Jinesh Hegde as CEO of Sri Lanka operations. Hegde replaces Suren Goonewardene, and will report to Ajai Puri, Airtel’s Director of Market Operations (India & South Asia).

Previously, Hegde was the senior VP and business head at Uninor for almost 6 years. Before that, he worked as the chief vertical officer, head of vertical business for 3 months. He also worked with Airtel as its regional business head of voice and VAS (West) for a year, before which he was the general manager of operations at Airtel for 3 years.

Hegde’s predecessor Goonewardene has been re-designated as non executive chairman of Airtel Sri Lanka, where Airtel launched its services in 2009. Airtel offers mobile voice, data and enterprise solutions in Sri Lanka and claims a 3G presence of 70% within its network.

Financials: Of the Rs 29,129 crores Bharti Airtel spent on spectrum acquisition during the recently concluded auction, 57% was for additional spectrum, said Bharti Airtel’s Global CFO Srikanth Balachandran during the company’s Q4-FY15 earnings conference call. The remaining 43% was spent on acquiring spectrum in the 6 circles up for renewal in 2015-16. He added that “Kerala is the only circle without our own 3G spectrum but that is covered by both FD and TD-LTE spectrum.”

Other developments at Airtel:

– Earlier this week, Airtel India became the number one operator whose call drop complaints (31) flooded the TRAI this year (up to 30 June), followed by Vodafone (17) , Idea Cellular (10) and BSNL (10). This was the response given by Telecom minister RS Prasad to the Lok Sabha. According to the data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India(COAI), Airtel added the highest number of GSM connections in June 2015, taking its connection base to 230.66 million.

– Last week, Bharti Airtel entered into exclusive talks with Orange to sell its businesses in four African countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone.

– Earlier this month, Telecom operator Airtel raised $1.3 billion from the sale of mobile towers in five countries in Africa to Helios Towers, IHS Holding Limited and American Tower Company, according to a notification on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The company added that the proceeds would go towards reducing the $10 billion debt used in its African operations in 2010.

– In the same time frame, Airtel India, along with Vodafone and Reliance started implementing mobile number portability (MNP) as of this month. The telecom operator will allow customers to retain their number when moving between states except customers shifting to J&K, Assam and the North East.

– Late last month, we reported that India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel was now the third largest telecom operator in the world with 303.1 million subscribers, according to data published by World Cellular Information Service (WCIS). As per Bharti Airtel’s Q4-FY15 quarterly report (pdf), it has 310.88 million total customer base.

– Telecom operator Bharti Airtel’s mobile commerce subsidiary Airtel Money’s total value of transactions in Africa grew 31.4% to $2.9 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 from $2.2 billion in the same period last year. The total customer base using the Airtel Money platform increased by 76.4% to 6.2 million as compared to 3.5 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

– In May, Anand Chandrasekaran, the product chief at Bharti Airtel, stepped down from his post at the telecom operator. Chandrasekaran confirmed this move and said that he planned to do something entrepreneurial in India. However, later in June, he joined Snapdeal as its chief product officer.

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