Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom firm, has cross the 20 crore (200 million) subscriber mark in a single country (India), one of a handful of companies in the world to do so. It has also become the fourth largest telecom firm in the World in terms of the number of subscribers.
The 200 million customer mark in India includes Bharti Airtel customers across categories of 2G, 3G and 4G mobile; fixed line and DSL broadband, IPTV and DTH services, Airtel said in a statement.
The company also offers a wide range of managed services for its enterprise, government and carrier customers.
Airtel was one of the first private sector companies to enter India’s liberalized telecom sector in the early 1990s.
Sunil Bharti Mittal founded the Bharti Group. In 1983, Mittal was in an agreement with Germany’s Siemens to manufacture push-button telephone models for the Indian market. In 1986, Mittal incorporated Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL), and his company became the first in India to offer push-button telephones, establishing the basis of Bharti Enterprises.
By the early 1990s, Sunil Mittal had also launched the country’s first fax machines and its first cordless telephones. In 1992, Mittal won a bid to build a cellular phone network in Delhi. In 1995, Mittal incorporated the cellular operations as Bharti Tele-Ventures and launched service in Delhi. In 1996, cellular service was extended to Himachal Pradesh.
In 1999, Bharti Enterprises acquired control of JT Holdings, and extended cellular operations to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In 2000, Bharti acquired control of Skycell Communications, in Chennai. In 2001, the company acquired control of Spice Cell in Calcutta. Bharti Enterprises went public in 2002, and the company was listed on Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange of India. In 2003, the cellular phone operations were rebranded under the single Airtel brand.
In 2004, Bharti acquired control of Hexacom and entered Rajasthan. In 2005, Bharti extended its network to Andaman and Nicobar. This expansion allowed it to offer voice services all across India. In 2009, Airtel launched its first international mobile network in Sri Lanka. In 2010, Airtel acquired the African operations of the Kuwait based Zain Telecom.In March 2012,Airtel launched a mobile operation in Rwanda.
“Bharti Airtel’s success story in India has been nothing short of exceptional. Over the years – we are proud to have been at the forefront of India’s telecom revolution and adapted our business to deliver on the market’s fast evolving customer needs,” said Sanjay Kapoor (CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel).
It achieved the first 100 million subscribers after 14 years and got its second 100 million came from the last three years alone.