Telecom industry is emerging as a new arena for franchising. Ashish Arora, CEO, Airtel explains how the company has come up with its franchise model through various formats and how opportunistic franchisors, dealers and distributors can avail of the prospect.
What business model do you follow? Please elaborate. Share a word on your presence via franchise model & your expansion plans?
Airtel Corporate Business has the revolutionisation of the franchise model for the telecom sector, both the walk-in and walk-out franchise model.
In the walk-in models, today we have a mix of
1) Own retail stores located in industrial clusters where business customers walk in for solutions
2) Temporary service camps organised on a regular basis at strategic accounts by our channel partners
3) Airtel Experience Outlets (AEOs) for IT hubs/parks/ SEZs wherein we provide employees across the campus access to excellent customer experience and an array of products and services (specially mobile services) they need to stay connected including SIM cards, SIM Swap, 3G products, MNP, bill payment, query resolution, and general enquiries.
4) Channel partner owned stores at prominent industrial clusters namely
In the walk out model,
1) For the top eight cities, we have key account managers for strategic accounts in the city supported by dedicated channel partners for voice, data and mobile to cater to growing peripheral clusters.
2) In the tier II and tier III cities, we follow the reach strategy where we have channel partners reaching out to customers of identified areas to sell products from all lines of businesses.
Are you seeking dealers, distributors or channel partners also? How do you wish to expand your business?
Yes, we are looking to expand our partner network, especially in the identified industrial clusters (by Govt of India) of Delhi/NCR, Surat-Baroda, Mumbai-Pune, Bangalore-Chennai-Trivandrum and Kolkata. UP is another market which is very critical for us as it has the largest growing business base. We look to expand there as well. Last fiscal, we increased our channel partner base by 2x and this year too we are looking at a minimum 1.5x increase. Any business wanting to become an Airtel corporate business partner needs to only invest a few resources for backend support, front end sale executives and have a dedicated office space. Like stated earlier, training and enablement will be taken care of by Airtel.
Throw light on your market presence.
Airtel Corporate Business gives new generation businesses the best of both worlds -- corporate-grade capabilities used by top global companies combined with tailored solutions (for micro-vertical needs) and local accountability. New Generation businesses today want to harness technology to help them work more productively and efficiently. Airtel Corporate Business provides integrated solutions with a focus on reliability, simplicity and value-for-money to truly enable growing entrepreneurial businesses. And we are market leaders too. In 2014,Airtel Corporate Business saw double digit growth and had a healthy account base of 3.5 lakh SMEs and a wide network of 1200+ partners. This is significantly higher than competition. Frost and Sullivan has recognised us as the Best Telecom Solution Provider for the growing business segment for two consecutive years.