Ajay Chitkara, director & CEO, global voice and data business, Bharti Airtel Ajay Chitkara, director & CEO, global voice and data business, Bharti Airtel

Ajay Chitkara, director & CEO, global voice and data business, Bharti Airtel on how the brand has re-imagined its complete business model with introduction of Open Network Infrastructure and digitised wholesale segment

Reimagining a company’s entire way of doing business is a strategic process and requires stitching together of all the elements - the digital strategy; the customer experiences, products, services, operating model and the requisite technology to design and implement the strategy.

“We are therefore constantly endeavouring to design the ‘businesses of tomorrow’ keeping pace with the ever evolving business scenario, changing consumer behaviour and technological trends”, Ajay Chitkara, director & CEO, global voice and data business, Bharti Airtel  says. “This involves thinking ahead of time and designing a strategy for creating the digital experiences that customers will expect 3-5 years from now. In line with this, we have also been on a transformational journey to simplify business, adapt to digital ecosystem and transform the way wholesale telecom industry operates.”

Ajay explains how the wholesale carrier business is not just about buying. It is also about selling and innovating with the end-user in mind. “At Airtel we are thus constantly endeavouring to put this equation in place with innovation at the core of the transformation. We have thus enabled deeper collaborations across business units and functional boundaries with an objective to create unique and superior digital experiences with a focused goal to empower customers and deliver greater value to them”, he says. In parallel, the company has also revamped its business model and organisation structure to support the digital way of working.

While the forward-looking strategies have helped establish it as the third largest telecommunications company in the world, the team doesn’t believe in resting on its laurels and getting complacent.  Ajay adds: “We are innovating to widen the market and developing solutions and utility based offerings to overcome the challenges the segment faces e.g. customer on-boarding in a matter of minutes instead of hours, assist retailers, help keep tabs on sales and performance amongst critical processes.”

The Airtel advantage

One of the key initiatives of the company to digitally transform the way wholesale telecom operators operate is ‘Airtel Advantage’. It offers an online selling and buying platform for wholesale voice, messaging and toll free voice services and provides a single window online solution to create a seamless interconnect and conduct the business transactions in a transparent and agile manner, Ajay tells CommsMEA. “At Airtel, we as a team are engineered for speed and dedicated to delivering tailored solutions which contribute in ease of doing business”, he adds.

Keeping pace with the changing trends of the telco business worldwide, Airtel’s team has successfully branched out of traditional customer segments to add more customers from new verticals segments like OTTs, CDNs and ISVs. Ajay says: “We are also partnering with OTTs to build a global infrastructure. Additionally, developing SD-WAN infrastructure, build new datacentre & cloud services to meet the increasing bandwidth requirements. Our content distribution services help OTTs to understand, locate, target and then engage relevant set of customers while trying to build a brand or create a recall in emerging markets.”

Airtel is further enabling content monetisation through a carrier billing platform where customers can pay for various services through their balance or post-paid bills. “We also offer customised peering solution which help in optimising the user experience and providing great value to the OTT segments,” Ajay adds.