Airtel’s Manoj Kohli to become MD to revive mobile biz

Telecom Lead Asia: Bharti Airtel is set to appoint Manoj Kohli as its managing director to revive mobile business.

Bharti’s founder Sunil Mittal, who is currently its chairman and managing director, will become executive chairman of the company, after Kohli moves to his new role.

Bharti Airtel’s Manoj Kohli to become MD to revive mobile biz

Airtel is currently trying to revive the mobile business. Airtel clocked 17.4 percent increase in second quarter revenue to Rs 20,273 crore. Airtel’s customer base stands at 262.6 million, across 20 countries. Airtel’s net profit increased by 30 percent to Rs 721 crore. However, the mobile service provider is yet to gain from its 3G and 4G ventures. Also, profit has taken a beating.

Kohli currently heads Airtel’s international operations as its chief executive officer and is also a joint managing director of the company. He is currently based in Nairobi, the headquarters of Bharti Airtel’s African operations.

In 2011, Manoj Kohli was named by as the top CEO of Africa.

Recently, Bharti Airtel achieved its 60 millionth customer in Africa. Airtel has added 10 million customers across its operations in 17 African countries in less than 12 months of having crossed 50 million subscribers.

In Q2 2012-13, Airtel Africa reported 21 percent increase in customer base, 32 percent traffic increase and 56 percent increase in non-voice revenues.

Airtel Africa is planning to spend $1 billion as telecom Capex during fiscal 2012-13. Airtel Africa is targeting revenue of $5 billion in 2012-13 from $4.14 billion in 2011-12. In 2011-12, Airtel’s Africa revenues grew 43.7 percent. Airtel Africa’s Capex during Q4 stood at $254 million against $382 million, down 33 percent.

Gopal Vittal, the new CEO of Airtel’s India business, will be named joint managing director. Two weeks back, Airtel’s India CEO Sanjay Kapoor stepped down.


Airtel will face fresh challenges under Gopal Vittal, the newly appointed CEO of its mobile business in India. Besides improving profitability, the important hurdle will be to increase both 3G and 4G subscriber base. Growing 3G user base from the 5 million mark and data ARPU will be the immediate task for Gopal Vittal. ARPU decreased to Rs 177 in Q2 2012-13 from Rs 185 in Q1. Its rival Reliance Communications’ ARPU increased to Rs 102 from Rs 98 during the same period.

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