India Witnessed Unprecedented Market Disruption Following Jio Entry, but Airtel Managed to Up Revenue Market Share: Sunil Mittal

India saw unprecedented market disruption following the entry of an extremely well capitalised and aggressive new operator [Reliance Jio], Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said in the company’s annual report for 2016-2017. Mittal said that the new telco’s prolonged free trial offers created massive pressure on industry revenues and margins.

Sunil Mittal
Sunil Mittal

Mittal, however, said that Airtel on its part navigated this extraordinary challenge with a well thought strategic action plan and of course, sheer resilience. Amidst this massive industry shake-up, the telecom operator managed to increase its revenue market share to reach a lifetime high.

“Many small operators lost their bearings under the intense onslaught and consequently prepared to exit the market,” he said.

Mittal added, “the shake-up also triggered an industry-wide consolidation process, which we believe could prove beneficial for the market in the long run.”

Airtel during the last fiscal year witnessed considerable strengthening of its spectrum footprint both through buying at the latest round of auction and inorganic acquisitions. Besides completing the acquisition of spectrum from Videocon and Aircel in fourteen circles, Airtel also entered into definitive agreements to acquire Telenor India and Tikona Digital Networks.

“With these acquisitions, Airtel became the only operator in the country to have a robust pan India 2G/3G/4G spectrum footprint. Proactive rollouts during the year made Airtel the only operator in the country with 2G, 3G, and 4G services in all 22 circles,” Mittal said.

Airtel rolled out 180,000 mobile sites in the past two years, making it one of the largest network rollouts globally. The telco doubled its transmission capacity and increased mobile backhaul capacity by eight times.

Gopal Vittal, Bharti Airtel’s chief executive and managing director for India and South Asia, said that the fiscal year 2016-17 was an eventful year. “The entry of a new player in the industry triggered rapid consolidation.”

Vittal said that while the industry witnessed a de-growth in revenues, Airtel increased its market share across most circles.

“We drove several new initiatives to drive market excellence this year. We launched instant mobile activations through e-KYC. We also rolled out a new retailer application – Mitra App which enables recharges and acquisitions through a single platform. With over 3.5 lac biometric devices, Airtel’s acquisition, and recharge platform have become one of the biggest digital transaction platforms in the country. Also, recognising the need to grab a higher share of 4G devices, we implemented robust innovations to build our share of 4G,” Vittal said in the report.


Bharti Airtel had last year launched Airtel Payments. Mittal said, “Early days of the bank are encouraging, and with our deep distribution network, I expect the Bank to be a pre-eminent driver of financial inclusion and mobile banking in the country in the coming years.

The report also revealed that Mittal received a hike above 8% to get a salary of Rs 30.1 crore for FY16-17.

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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SidduKunalBsnl UserIdea88Sanjit Roy, Thakurnagar, wb Recent comment authors
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Calling improved a lot but coverage is still an issue with Jio.I travel Mumbai to jaipur by train and there is a patch of 50 kms where Jio coverage is gone(near Raj MP border).
Waiting for jio to grow up.


No jio network at trimbakeshwar maharashtra a well known tourist place which is not good
Airtel has full network
jio is not reliable even now


Agree jio still has to cover many important locations & places……they r taking too much time…..their tower dependence on rcom is another problem as rcom towers don’t fill diesel in rural locations (maharashtra) & as a result there is no jio coverage at those locations for hours in a day during power cut, making them unreliable….. even jio own towers (monopole ) at a very important locations on mumbai – ahemdabad highway (very near to ghodbunder junction ) are closed from months . They have genset back up , but seems the sites are under break down . Three to… Read more »


Yes kunal u r right and i sent mail regarding this issue i.e no power no network and got a call from there technical department today.They says me that yes we are sharing rcom tower at u r village but our battery is different from rcom we are not depends on rcom battery we have our own battery which backup at least 8 hrs; only problem occurred when main power went off for more then 12 hrs. He says me check again when power goes and replay me accordingly so now i have to check it again.


As per my experience , jio goes off immediately on power cut…..there is no battery or genset back up… comes back immediately as regular power supply is restored. This happens atleast thrice a day & no network upto hours in a day.

The jio bts are on rcom ground base towers. Rcom own network also goes off but they work on tata docomo.

Jio becomes useless in power cut….i don’t no why jio is tolerating such sub standard services from reliance infratel….

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