Airtel to Invest in 30,000+ Cell Sites, Fiber and FTTH Rollout This Year: Sunil Mittal

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Bharti Airtel will invest heavily in building new cell sites, fiber and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout this year. The telco saw net profits in its books after six consecutive quarters. Sunil Mittal, founder and chairperson of Bharti Airtel said that the worst is over for the telco. According to a report from ET Telecom, Mittal said that resetting the industry has only strengthened Airtel since the telco emphasises a lot on investing in its networks and keeps customers ahead of anything.

Airtel Approximately Has 35% Revenue Market Share

When questioned about the revenue market share, Mittal said even though Vodafone Idea’s (Vi) results are yet to come, Airtel should hold around 35% revenue market share. He revealed that Airtel’s capital expenditure in the last five years has been about Rs 20,000 crore every year, excluding spectrum costs.

Mittal said that the telco is planning to build and invest in more than 20,000 to 30,000 cell sites this year. Further, Airtel will also invest in fiber and FTTH rollout heavily. He also noted that Airtel would invest more in its Direct-to-Home (DTH) arm, Airtel Digital TV, and side by side will keep building data centres. After this, the telco would move on to the 5G investment cycle.

Mittal also said that Airtel could clear up the bank dues of Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 crores in a few months. This would enable the telco in focusing completely on the spectrum-related debt (Adjusted Gross Revenue dues).

Mittal confirmed about the presence of a separate arm of Bharti Airtel called ‘Airtel Digital’ that houses all the company's digital entities. The company is still discussing how it can restructure its new ‘digital’ arm, with around 119 million active customers.

According to Mittal, the aim of creating ‘Airtel Digital’ is to make two monetisable vehicles. Investors who only want a piece of Airtel Digital can now buy freely without worrying about its telecom part.

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