Bharti Airtel – The first Indian telecom to have 100 million users

airtelBharti Airtel, which launched its mobile operations in Delhi (1995). On Friday it announced that it has become the first Indian telecom to have 100 million users. Others which have achieved the milestone are China Mobile and China Unicom.

Bharti Airtel the country’s largest mobile phone operator looking at big-ticket acquisitions abroad in its quest to double its subscriber base, after it became the third Telecom in the world to have more than 100 million customers on a single network.

Bharti’s chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said that If we focus on India alone, we will reach 200 million (users) in the next two-and-a-half years, but this will happen much faster if we make an acquisition.

The Singapore’s largest telecom operator SingTel, which owns 30% in Bharti, said that it would be happy to increase its holding in Bharti. Mr Mittal said he would play a global role within the company as it seeks to expand outside India. My job is to get 100 million from outside, while the Airtel team here will get the next 100 million from here. We want to take our success story, which is built on low cost, high volumes and high minutes of usage to the world.

On the ongoing controversy over the allocation of spectrum, the airwaves on which mobile signals travel, he said that the telco would have no objection if the government decided to allot this scarce resource through auctions.

Earlier this year, it hired German communications major T-Mobile’s chief technology officer Joachim Horn and just prior to that, it had roped in B Srikanth from Unilever UK and Shireesh Joshi from beverages and chips maker PepsiCo China. Bharti has been lining up top global talent of late and analysts say the hiring of these top executives could be an indication that the telecom is arming itself for a big-ticket acquisition.