Bharti Airtel is Always Safe Despite Bad Shape of the Industry: Sunil Mittal

Bharti Airtel chief says Airtel is Safe after meeting Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with Vodafone Idea chief Kumar Birla

  • Airtel Chief Sunil Mittal met Finance Minister and Telecom Secretary of Wednesday
  • Mittal reassures that his company is safe but said overall telecom industry is under stress
  • AGR issue not discussed with the government

Amid concerns over the viability of telecom operations after Supreme Court’s adverse judgement on AGR dues, Airtel chief Sunil Bharti Mittal said his company was safe even though the telecom sector as a whole was under stress. “We were always safe, we were never unsafe,” Mittal reportedly said as he met the government officials on Wednesday over the financial crisis faced by the telecom industry. The development comes after the Supreme court rapped both the government and telecom operators last week for failing to pay up the adjusted gross revenues dues by the January 23 deadline.


Sunil Mittal Expresses Concerns Over General Health of Telecom Industry

Mittal, however, expressed his concerns over the general health of the industry. “The industry is under stress, and we all know that. We have been talking about it for the last three-and-a-half years.”

The Airtel chief along with Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla had met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday evening for nearly 40 minutes. The telecom executive, however, refused to divulge details regarding the meeting.

Mittal said the issue of pending AGR dues was not discussed. He instead said the only thing the government needs to do right now is ensuring the sustainability of the telecom sector. The telecom industry he added is important for the nation and the digital agenda of the government.

Earlier in the day, the Airtel chief had also met telecom secretary Anshu Prakash before going on to meet the Finance Minister.

Airtel Clears Rs 10,000 Crore AGR Dues

Bharti Airtel has so far cleared Rs 10,000 crore as part of its AGR dues and has sought more time to calculate its liability. The company plans to pay all of the AGR dues before the next hearing on March 17.

Mittal reassured the company would pay the remaining amount before the next hearing date but when asked whether their calculations on AGR dues was lower than as demanded by telecom department, he said it was too early to speak on the matter. “Calculations are going on. I cannot say anything more,” he said.

Airtel’s total AGR dues as per Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) assessment stand at Rs 35,586 crore including licence fee and spectrum usage charges. Airtel might have to pay another Rs 2,000 crore as AGR dues of Videocon.

Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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Kaushik IMA

Of course, ambani and Mittal will always be here. Very well connected after all.

Jio and Airtel are already in backroom talks for domination plan in market. 😉


Airtel should expand their 4G coverage fast this year to stay relevant in long term. 900Mhz and 2100Mhz deployment is at snails pace.


No @ Nikhil. Checked in Delhi and Bangalore. LTE 900 live with Band 1 live in bangalore and Delhi both. And already reported earlier for other cities as well.. On the other hand, VIL LTE 900 is at very snail pace or non existent due to financial constraints. LTE 900 deployed on very few sites in bangalore. They are only focussing on removing existing radioes and deploying on shared sites with other telcos to enhance coverage. BUT Capacity building has taken complete back seat as it involves capital investment on adding new sectors and new band radios for LTE 900… Read more »


Have been to Amritsar and Hyderabad last year in March and October. 900Mhz was selectively deployed. 2100Mhz was nowhere to be seen. Speeds were fantastic though. Don’t know the reason. VIL is nowhere in the position to compete with Airtel. Forget about Jio. Everything is quiet slower than snails pace since last year June. We can’t think of band 900Mhz and 2100Mhz from their side. Till now they haven’t expanded band 41 in city limits also properly. Let’s see what happens from governments side. They have spectrum advantage. With 40Mhz in band 41(in some circles) and 10-20Mhz in band 1,they… Read more »

Kaushik IMA

“wherever Idea voda networks are merged, customer are facing call drops and almost nill internet…”

Please no generalised statements, because I know this isn’t true all over India.


@Kaushik : If Jio does buy everything from band 3/40 in upcoming auction, will Airtel buy everything from band 1/41?


@Chetan : If Jio does buy everything from band 3/40 in upcoming auction, will Airtel buy everything from band 1/41?


jio dont allow to b5 for data use which work on 3CA…IN NAVI MUMBAI…ANYONE OBSERVING THIS??

Kaushik IMA

Airtel has removed CA at many sites in indore where it was previously functional. 1800/2300 MHz LTE is a pain, there are indoor coverage issues.

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