Ian Ferrao is the new regional director of Airtel Africa’s East African business, the company has announced today.

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In a statement, the telco said Ferrao has more than 12 years of experience in senior management in the industry across the African continent.

A former chief executive of Vodacom Tanzania, Ferrao worked as the CEO of Vodacom Lesotho as well as the chief commercial officer at Vodacom business Africa. 

He holds a First Class Honours Degree in BSc Management Sciences from the Warwick Business School.

Raghunath Mandava, the Airtel Africa CEO said Ferrao will oversee operations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda. Confident that Ferrao brings a wealth of relevant telecommunication and mobile money experience, he affirmed he will be part of the Africa Executive Committee based in Nairobi and will focus on driving growth across voice, data and mobile money in East Africa.

This comes as part of the greater plan of countering Safaricom's dominance in the Kenyan market. In February, Airtel Kenya also announced a merger with Telkom Kenya. The deal was to merge their mobile, enterprise, and carrier services to form a single joint venture company to be named Airtel-Telkom.

 Latest data from Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) covering three months to September showed, Airtel the Kenyan subsidiary of Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, had a market share of 22.3 per cent while Telkom had nine per cent.

A successful deal could, therefore, hand them a combined share of 33.3 per cent against market leader’s Safaricom’s 64.2 per cent. It will also see Kenya’s second and third-largest telecom operators command 14.6 million mobile subscribers, being 48.76 per cent of Safaricom’s 29.94 million as at the end of September.