Bharti Airtel Has Emerged Stronger, Says Company Chairman Sunil Mittal

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel’s Chairman Sunil Mittal on Tuesday said that after a five-year battle in the telecom industry that was marked by falling revenue and high debt, the company has emerged stronger as a “very stable organisation”.

According to a news report by the PTI, Mittal was speaking at an event organised by the All India Management Association (AIMA). He said an important inflection point in his life came with the first mobile licence in 1992 against very stiff odds.

In a chat with Hero Enterprise’s Chairman Sunil Kant Munjal, Mittal said his leadership learnings early on in life have held him in good stead. “My professionals will not send me anything that will compromise the company’s governance. I will never ask anything of them which will compromise our governance,” Mittal said.

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He recalled that in the past 4-5 years it became clear that the industry’s revenue had collapsed even as expenses were high.

“There has not been a single year when we have not spent $3-4 billion… And that is a lot of money… Rs 20,000 crore plus every year relentlessly year-after-year this industry has had to spend and I am just talking about India,” he said.

He added that the situation had necessitated raising more capital, which the company did.

The chairman of Bharti Airtel said, “In the last 30 months, we have raised over $18 billion. We diluted heavily, we sold some assets and we wanted to ensure we have the money to keep on investing and fighting this very difficult battle. Airtel has come out very strongly from the five-year storm to be a very stable organisation, he said, adding that it is under extreme pressure that test of a true institutions and character of an organisation comes into play. I must say with great deal of satisfaction and pride that despite facing some very difficult times, we stayed on course. That means not taking any short cuts, but playing for the long term.”

Meanwhile, Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) on Tuesday expressed its deep disappointment over the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai’s) recommendations on 5G. The industry body has also termed the spectrum pricing suggested by the regulator as “too high”.