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Airtel Africa extends partnership with Google

  • ● Airtel Africa launches Google+ and Chat SMS
  • ● Extended partnership aims to provide accessible and innovative products to end users

February 29, 2012 New Delhi / KENYA - Airtel Africa has extended its existing partnership with global technology leader Google, with an aim to make Internet products accessible to a greater number of consumers in Africa. The two companies have teamed up to launch Google+ and Chat SMS features across the 16 markets in which Airtel operates and have plans to continue deepening the strategic relationship to increase affordable and ubiquitous access to the Internet and Google products for its end users.

The two companies have teamed up to bring the value of Google products to SMS users. Users can now use Google+ Messenger and Google Chat to communicate between all mobile phones and platforms, even if they are offline or have an SMS and voice only phone. With Google+ SMS notifications and ability to post status updates via SMS, users are always connected with the people in their circles.

"We are extremely excited about taking this mutually-beneficial relationship to the next level," explains Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa. "By extending our already existing relationship into the future, both Airtel and Google will work together to ensure that we can provide consumers with access to innovative products that will have a positive impact on how they experience the internet."

Mr. Beyers goes on to say that the telco is in the process of building the largest 3G network across the continent – which will directly support the partnership. 3G will transform how subscribers experience the web on internet-enabled cell phones.

"Airtel has always been committed to providing consumers with relevant and innovative products and services," says Willie Ellis, Group Products & Innovations Director, Airtel Africa. "Strategic partnerships – such as this one – will allow us to continue delivering mobile solutions that will improve our customers’ internet experience."

There are currently about 400 million mobile subscribers in Africa, according to data from McKinsey & Co. Telecommunications is one of the continent’s fastest growing industries with a rapidly expanding cellular phone market that now includes internet access, mobile banking and mobile commerce.

With this in mind, the telco has remained committed to deepening its network coverage, bringing communication opportunities to rural populations that, until now, have been left out of the telecommunications boost. The telco will work in tandem with Google to provide consumers with internet solutions and products that will help bridge the digital divide.