Airtel Emerged as a Strong Institution, Says Sunil Mittal: Report

Sunil Mittal believes that having three private players, in addition to BSNL, is ideal for the telecom industry. Airtel has become a very solid institution, driven by meritocracy, deep understanding of the market, and a strong customer connection.


  • Bharti Airtel has emerged as the only telecom company to survive intense competition and challenging crises in the market.
  • The company has undergone a significant transformation and has become a national asset.
  • Airtel has transformed into a consumer-centric company and moved away from typical telecom ways.

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Airtel Emerged as a Strong Institution, Says Sunil Mittal: Report

Airtel has come a long way and emerged as the only telecom company to survive the disruptive competition in the market. According to Sunil Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Airtel, the company has successfully navigated through intense competition in 2003, the Supreme Court's AGR verdict in 2020, and the impact of Reliance Jio's launch in 2016. Despite facing these challenges, Bharti Airtel has emerged as a national asset, shared Sunil Bharti Mittal, the chairman of the Bharti Group, in an interview with ET Telecom.

Also Read: Airtel Payments Bank With 56 Million Customers Will Shine a Lot, Says Sunil Mittal: Report

Transformational Deals

Sunil Mittal shared that 2003 was a challenging period when the competitive intensity became rough, and a lot has happened since 2005. He said Airtel was also young then and came strongly from there. The company has done transformational deals with IBM, Nokia and Ericsson at the time and got recognised as a trailblazer in telecommunications.

Technological Advancements in Industry

The telecommunications industry has witnessed significant technological advancements since 2005, shifting from voice and SMS services to a fully digital ecosystem characterised by a data-driven approach. The biggest challenges have been on the technology front, he shared. Bharti Airtel's 5G is available in over 500 cities with the latest announcement of 5G in Ladakh.

Also Read: Airtel Payments Bank Deposits Grew by 50% Over Last Year

The Tide of Events

"Airtel survived the 2016 tsunami is a testament to the exceptional transformation of the company into an institution. While Airtel faced existential crises in 2003 and the 2020 Supreme Court verdict on AGR, the changes brought by the 2016 tsunami were not such. Airtel has successfully done so by transforming into a digital ecosystem-led telecom industry from a voice and SMS-led one," Sunil Mittal shared. "Some parts of the 2016 events were good. I would say acceleration of data revolution, affordability, and proliferation of much bigger networks."

Market Players

According to Sunil Mittal, having three private players, in addition to BSNL, is ideal for the telecom industry. However, capital is a crucial requirement for success in this field. Our company, for instance, managed to secure over USD 16-17 billion in the last three and a half years by selling off assets and diluting our founding shareholders' stake. For a new player to enter the market, they would need funding of at least Rs 50,000-75,000 crore, and even then, survival is not guaranteed.

Also Read: Strengthening Partnership: Tim Cook and Sunil Bharti Mittal Discuss Collaboration in Indian and African Markets

Sunil Mittal said, "Airtel has become truly a very solid institution, a company which is meritocracy driven, which has a deep understanding of the market, a very strong connect with customers. It has moved from the old, typical telecom ways to a much more evolved way of being a consumer-centric company. It doesn't think like a telecom company anymore."

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Telecom Analyst

Passionately following the Indian #Telecom Industry for over a decade from Business, Consumer and a Technical perspective. My primary focus area is Consumer & Digital Experience.

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