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Airtel building ad-tech platform to reach over 155 million users: Gopal Vittal

Bharti Airtel management on Thursday outlined a digital strategy to monetize demand across its digital assets from quality customers. The telecom operator has also started testing it adtech model, which has generated modest revenue, it said while addressing analysts during the Q1 post earnings call.

Bharti Airtel Chief executive Gopal Vittal said that the telecom operator is seeking to differentiate itself uniquely by attracting customers who matter. Airtel’s digital assets include music app Wnyk, Airtel Xstream, Mitra, Payments and Airtel Thanks. Some of the new services include Airtel Payments bank solutions, bundled with the connection as well as the new Airtel Platinum product to offer better data speed at a premium.

“The questions we seek to answer with our digital strategy is around how we acquire more “quality customers”, retain them and create higher lifetime value. Our customers trust us with an incredible amount of data. We are building an ad-tech platform using our powerful digital assets that have a unique active user reach of over 155 million users,” said Vittal.

Further, Airtel is using its data, distribution and payment platforms to drive partner businesses from which Airtel earns commissions. Apart from partnerships like Verizon and Google among others, Airtel is also considering building digital products in house.

Ever since, rival Reliance Jio has been actively rolling out and talking about its digital strategy, investors have been concerned about Airtel’s strategy and investments in this space. Jio’s recent announcement at parent Reliance Industries’ (RIL) annual general meeting about an integrated digital ecosystem spanning multiple sectors has only increased the curiosity around Airtel’s initiatives.

Reliance Jio, which claims a digital ecosystem of over 380 million data customers, has so far struggled to monetize its user base.

While Vittal declined to comment on the recent acquisition and partnership strategy of Reliance Jio with global technology giants, he said Airtel’s focus will be on creating new streams of revenue through their digital assets. There is a demand in the adtech market for identifying customers who will translate to actual revenue or transaction, Vittal said.


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