Sunil Mittal can be called as originator of cellular phone revolution in India. He is the founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Group and runs India’s largest GSM-based mobile phone service.
Sunil Bharti Mittal’s father was an M.P. Sunil did not followed his father’s footsteps. After graduating from Punjab University in 1970s, he set up a small bicycle business in Ludhiana in partnership with his friend. By 1979, Sunil Mittal realized that his ambitions could not be fulfilled in Ludhiana, so he moved out to Mumbai from Ludhiana.
He spent a few years in Mumbai and in 1982, Sunil Mittal started a full-fledged business selling portable generators imported from Japan. This gave him a chance to acquaint himself with the nitty-gritty’s of marketing and advertising. His business was running smoothly but later on the government banned the import of generators as two Indian companies were awarded licenses to manufacture generators locally.
In 1986, Sunil Bharti Mittal incorporated Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL) and entered into a technical tie up with Siemens AG of Germany for manufacture of electronic push button phones. Gradually he expanded his business and by early 1990s, Sunil Mittal was making fax machines, cordless phones and other telecom gear.
In 1992, when the Indian government was awarding licenses for mobile phone services for the first time, Sunil Mittal clinched Delhi cellular license in collaboration with French telecom group Vivendi. In 1995, Sunil Mittal founded Bharti Cellular Limited (BCL) to offer cellular services under the brand name AirTel. Soon, Bharti became the first telecom company to cross the 2-million mobile subscriber mark. Bharti Cellular Limited also rolled out India’s first private national as well as international long-distance service under the brand name IndiaOne. In 2001, BCL entered into a joint venture with Singapore Telecom International for a $650-million submarine cable project, India’s first ever undersea cable link connecting Chennai in India and Singapore.
Today, Sunil Mittal runs a successful empire with a market capitalization of approximately $ 2 billion and employing over 5,000 people. He has been honored with several awards.