Airtel aims to drive 4G growth via new PepsiCo partnership

Pepsico Airtel
Image by savoco | Bigstockphoto

Bharti Airtel, India’s second-largest telecom operator, has re-entered into a co-branding partnership with PepsiCo India, the maker of Pepsi and Lay’s snacks, to offer complimentary 4G data on the purchase of the latter’s products.

The branding partnership was originally signed in August 2020, but the campaign ended last year. However, both companies have decided to restart the initiative.

The move aims to drive data growth on Airtel’s 4G network in the country and get more users from rival telecom operators such as Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, and BSNL.

Under the new initiative, Airtel’s prepaid users will get up to 2GB of complimentary 4G data on the purchase of PepsiCo’s snack packs. The offers will go live at the pan-India level and will be valid till March 31, 2022.

Data consumption in India has gone up by leaps and bounds as India’s corporate workforce, and students continue to work and study from home amid the ongoing pandemic.

“…the decision to revive the year-old partnership was triggered by steady growth in mobile data consumption and a 12% jump in snacking volumes between April-May 2020 and April-May 2021, with consumers adopting a hybrid WFH way of living,” an Airtel executive told the publication.

Airtel reported a near 14% on-year jump in data usage per customer at 18.93 GB at the end of June 2021.

A senior PepsiCo India executive told the Economic Times that “data is an important currency,” with people using it to work from home, online education, gaming, and streaming video content.

“…internal insights showed consumers regularly stock up on preferred foods and beverage products, inclining towards larger pack sizes to avail of larger chunks of free data,” the person was quoted as saying by the publication.

PepsiCo will be spending Rs 30 crore on media spends to relaunch the co-branding initiative across platforms. It has reportedly roped in A-list Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and Ranbir Kapoor as brand ambassadors for the campaign.

Airtel, on the other hand, will promote the new initiative through its Airtel Thanks app. The Sunil Mittal-led telco’s prepaid customers make up nearly 95% of its overall wireless user base in the country.

Consumers buying PepsiCo products will get the free data voucher code printed inside the packet, which they can redeem using Airtel’s Thanks app to claim the free data offering.

Related article: India’s Airtel forays into advertising business with adtech service for brands

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