Bharti Airtel: from 2G and 3G to 4G LTE creating Indian telecom industry

Telecom Lead India: April 10, 2012 is an historic day for
Bharti Airtel, India’s number one telecom service provider, and the country.
India will experience its first 4G service. Airtel’s journey – from 2G in 1995
to 3G in 2010 and 4G in 2012 – was eventful. Telecom Lead is sharing some of
the major milestones in the life of Sunil Mittal, the iconic chairman of Airtel
and the Indian telecom industry.


July 7, 1995: Date of Incorporation.

1997: British Telecom acquired 21.05 percent stake in
Bharti Cellular.


June 4, 1998: launched first Indian private fixed-line
services in Indore in the Madhya Pradesh circle ending fixed-line services
monopoly of DoT (now BSNL).

April 9, 2001: Bharti Enterprises posted a topline growth
of 64 percent in fiscal 2000-01 with a total group sales turnover of Rs 13140
million as against Rs 7970 million in the corresponding fiscal.

The company’s growth was fuelled by a 107 percent growth
in manufacturing revenues and a 61 percent growth in services. The service
companies more than doubled their subscriber base, recording a growth of 115


October 1, 2001: crossed the 1 million customer mark
across their mobile operations.

February 18, 2002: Became a public limited company in

March 4, 2002: Sheila Dikshit, chief minister of Delhi,
launched Delhi’s first private telephone service – Touchtel.

March 30, 2005: First telecom company to have an all
India mobile footprint.

September 2, 2005: Airtel Broadband & Telephone
Services, India’s largest broadband service provider and the country’s largest
private telephone service from Bharti Tele-Ventures, crossed the one
million-customer landmark.

July 23, 2006: achieve the first 25 million users.

May 23, 2007: crossed the 40 million-mobile customer
milestone. With this, Bharti Airtel becomes the first Indian mobile services
provider and the 10th in the world to join an exclusive list of global telecom
operators with more than 40 million customers from a single-country. This
remarkable achievement is highlighted by the fact that it took Airtel 11 years
to reach the 20 million customer landmark and just another 13 months to add the
next 20 million customers.

October 1, 2007: crossed the 50 million customer mark.

August 2008: crossed 75 million customers.

May 15, 2009:  crossed the 100 million
customers mark.

The Indian telecom sector, seen as providing the most
affordable services in the world, has grown by leaps and bounds in the last
decade. We are proud to have led the telecom revolution that made a positive
impact on the lives of people in every corner of the country as well as the
Indian economy. This remarkable journey to 100 million customers is a testament
to the vision and commitment of a company that benchmarks itself with the best
in the world,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman & Group CEO, Bharti

March 18, 2010: clocked 2.5 million plus downloads within
30 days of the launch of Airtel App Central – India’s first mobile application

March 30, 2010: entered into a legally binding definitive
agreement with Zain Group to acquire Zain Africa based on an enterprise
valuation of $10.7 billion.

November 18, 2010: unveiled a new identity – a shared
worldwide vision across its operations in 19 countries in Asia and Africa.
airtel also announced that it has crossed the significant milestone of 200
million customers.

January 24, 2011: launched 3G service in India.

“It is indeed the start of a new era when 3G
services in India roll out on airtel’s network. India is ushering in the domain
– though later than most of the world – but no doubt we will catch up at a much
faster speed. 3G is much more than a technology migration – it is a
transformational shift – and airtel’s focus would be to bring to its customers
an enriched user experience on the back of a world class delivery network. I
welcome all 745 million mobile customers of the country to be a part of this
journey with Airtel,” said Sanjay Kapoor, CEO – bharti airtel (India &
South Asia).

March 3, 2011: achieved around half a million 3G customers having launched a
little over a month ago.

April 10, 2012: Bharti will launch TD LTE / 4G services
in Kolkata.

During its IPO, Airtel said: The Indian cellular market,
according to the COAI, has increased from approximately 1.5 million subscribers
as of November 30, 1999 to approximately 5.2 million subscribers as of November
30, 2001, representing a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 86
percent during this period. COAI estimates that the number of cellular
subscribers will grow to approximately 50 million by 2005. Gartner estimates
that the number of cellular subscribers will grow to approximately 31 million
by 2005.

We have gone ahead in telecom industry. By launching 2G,
3G and 4G, Airtel has contributed significantly to Indian telecom industry. It
is time for the government to recognize telecom industry’s efforts. Do not kill
the golden industry. It deserves better treatment.

Baburajan K
[email protected]