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Bharti Airtel
Type Public
BSE: 532454
Founded July 07, 1995
Founder(s) Sunil Bharti Mittal
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Key people Sunil Mittal
(Chairman) & (MD)
Sanjay Kapoor
Industry Telecommunications
Products Wireless
Satellite television
Revenue US$ 7.254 billion (2009)[1]
Operating income US$ 2.043 billion (2009)[1]
Net income US$ 1.662 billion (2009)[1]
Total assets US$ 11.853 billion (2009)[1]
Owner(s) Bharti Enterprises (64.76%)
SingTel (30.5%)
Vodafone (4.4%)
Employees 25,543 (2009)

Bharti Airtel (BSE: 532454) formerly known as Bharti Tele-Ventures LTD (BTVL) is the largest cellular service provider in India, with more than 121 million subscribers as of January 2010.[2] With this, Bharti is now the world's third-largest, single-country mobile operator and sixth-largest integrated telecom operator. It also offers fixed line services and broadband services. It offers its TELECOM services under the Airtel brand and is headed by Sunil Bharti Mittal. The company also provides telephone services and broadband Internet access (DSL) in top 95 cities in India. It also acts as a carrier for national and international long distance communication services. The company has a submarine cable landing station at Chennai, which connects the submarine cable connecting Chennai and Singapore.

The businesses at Bharti Airtel have always been structured into three individual strategic business units (SBU's) - Mobile Services, Airtel Telemedia Services & Enterprise Services. The mobile business provides mobile & fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23 telecom circles while the Airtel Telemedia Services business offers broadband & telephone services in 95 cities and has recently launched a Direct-to-Home (DTH) service, Airtel Digital TV. Shahrukh Khan is the brand embassador of the mobile company and Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan are the brand embassadors of the DTH company. The company provides end-to-end data and enterprise services to the corporate customers through its nationwide fiber optic backbone, last mile connectivity in fixed-line and mobile circles, VSATs, ISP and international bandwidth access through the gateways and landing station.[3]

Globally, Bharti Airtel is the 3rd largest in-country mobile operator by subscriber base, behind China Mobile and China Unicom. In India, the company has a 24.6% share of the wireless services market, followed by 17.7% for Reliance Communications and 17.4% for Vodafone Essar.[4] In January 2010, company anonced that Manoj Kohli, Joint Managing Director and current Chief Executive Officer of Indian and South Asian operations, will become the Chief Executive Officer of the International Business Group from 1st April 2010. He will be overseeing Bharti's overseas business. Current Dy. CEO, Sanjay Kapoor, will replace Manoj Kohli and will be the CEO with effective from 1st April, 2010.




Airtel is a brand of telecommunication services in India, Bangladesh and in Sri Lanka owned and operated by Bharti Airtel. It is the largest cellular service provider in India in terms of number of subscribers. Services are offered under the brand name Airtel: Mobile Services (using GSM Technology), Broadband & Telephone Services (Fixed line, Internet Connectivity(DSL) and Leased Line), Long Distance Services and Enterprise Services (Telecommunications Consulting for corporates). It has presence in all 23 circles of the country and covers 71% of the current population (as of Financial Year 2007). Airtel has also launched 16Mb/s broadband plans in India, making it the first ISP to do so.

Airtel Sri Lanka

In December 2008, Bharti Airtel rolled out third generation services in Sri Lanka in association with Singapore Telecommunications. SingTel is a major player in the 3G space in Asia. It operates third generation networks in several markets across Asia. [5]

Airtel's operation in Sri Lanka, known as Airtel Lanka, commenced operations on the 12th of January 2009.

Airtel in Bangladesh

In January 2010, it was announced that the Bangladesh Telecommuncations Regulatrory Commission (BTRC) of The People's Republic of Bangladesh had given Bharti Airtel the go ahead to acquire a 70% stake in the Bangladesh business of Abu Dhabi based Warid Telcom. The latter had till date invested a total of $600 million, with plans to bring their Bangladesh investments to the $1 billion mark. Airtel's 70% stake in the company is said to be at a cost of an initial $300 million. [6]


Until September 18, 2004, Bharti provided fixed-line telephony and broadband services under the Touchtel brand. Bharti now provides all telecom services including fixed-line services under a common brand "Airtel".


On 19 October 2004 Airtel announced the launch of a BlackBerry Wireless Solution in India. The launch is a result of a tie-up between Bharti Tele-Ventures Limited and Research In Motion (RIM).

Digital TV

On 9 October 2008, Airtel joined the DTH bandwagon in India with Airtel Digital TV, a Direct-to-Home Television service.

iPhone 3G

The Apple iPhone 3G was rolled out in India on 22 August 2008 via Airtel & Vodafone.


Merger talks

In May 2008, it emerged that Bharti Airtel was exploring the possibility of buying the MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company with coverage in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Financial Times reported that Bharti was considering offering US$45 billion for a 100% stake in MTN, which would be the largest overseas acquisition ever by an Indian firm. However, both sides emphasize the tentative nature of the talks, while The Economist magazine noted, "If anything, Bharti would be marrying up," as MTN has more subscribers, higher revenues and broader geographic coverage.[7] However, the talks fell apart as MTN group tried to reverse the negotiations by making Bharti almost a subsidiary of the new company.[8]

In May 2009, Bharti Airtel again confirmed that it is in Talks with MTN and companies have now agreed discuss the potential transaction exclusively by July 31, 2009.[9] Bharti Airtel said in a statement “Bharti Airtel Ltd is pleased to announce that it has renewed its effort for a significant partnership with MTN Group".[10]

Talks eventually ended without agreement, some sources stating that due to the South African government opposition.[11]

Acquisition Talks

On 14, February 2010 a statement issued exclusively to the Ghana News Agency by Zain Ghana, said "the Board of Directors of Kuwaiti the Zain Group, after its meeting on February 14, 2010, issued a resolution to accept a proposal received from Bharti Airtel Limited (Bharti) to enter into exclusive discussions until 25 March 2010, regarding the sale of its African unit, Zain Africa BV." The offer was for $10.7 billion.

“This potential transaction does not include Zain’s operations in Morocco and Sudan and remains subject to due diligence, customary regulatory approvals and signing of final transaction documentation,” Bharti said. The deal would provide Bharti access to 15 more countries in the region, adding around 40.1 million subscribers to its already 125 million-plus user base. With Bharti having presence in five overseas markets post the deal, it would increase its global presence across 20 regions. The combined revenue of the two entities would be around $12 billion.

Recently a shareholder of Zain Nigeria, Broad Communications, secured an injunction against the company from managing its subsidiary in that country because Zain was destroying shareholder value. Experts have said the developments in Nigeria could have implications for the Bharti acquisition. [12]


Bharti Airtel signed a five-year deal with ESPN Star Sports to become the title sponsor of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament. The tournament itself is named "Airtel Champions League Twenty20." [13]

Airtel 3G

Airtel plans to launch the nationwide 3G services in India in the second quarter of 2010.

Subscriber base

The Airtel subscriber base according to COAI - Cellular Operators Association of India as of January 2010[14]] was:

Andaman and Nicobar Islands - 5,070,213

The total is 131,714,243 or 32.86% of the total 404,349,733 GSM mobile connections in India till December 2009; and presently the Number 1 operator in India.

On the 9th of May, 2009 Airtel signed a major deal with Manchester United Football Club. As a result of the deal, Airtel gets the rights to broadcast the matches played by the team to its customers.

See also


External links

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