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It would be tragic if India is reduced to a two private player telecom market, says Airtel chairman

Mittal also said that it is important for companies to get into new businesses and said that companies that previously said will not disappear "have gone off the face of the business charts for not staying relevant."

(Picture: Reuters) (Picture: Reuters)
Story highlights
  • Mittal said India is already down to 2.5 operators from 12 earlier.
  • He said it would be tragic if India were to reduce to a two-private player telecom market.
  • Mittal noted that OneWeb slated to launch on June 22 will be one of the first two (global) LEO constellations in space.

Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal has said that it would be tragic if India ends up having only two telecom operators. He further noted that a country as big as India should have at least three private sector players. Mittal also said that it is important for companies to get into new businesses and said that companies that previously said will not disappear "have gone off the face of the business charts for not staying relevant." Mittal's comments come at a time when telecom company Vodafone Idea or Vi is trying to find investors and looks at improving its financial position in the market.

"We are already down to 2.5 operators from 12 earlier, and if India goes down to just two operators, that will be tragic as the country being a very large one deserves to have three private sector players, and I hope we end up with that situation," ET Telecom quoted Mittal who spoke at the Qatar Economic Forum on Tuesday.

Mittal said that Airtel's position was getting stronger in the market and that the telco had gained market share and had also bolstered its position in Africa. He also noted that the company's OneWeb's upcoming satellite broadband operations would be "a game-changer, and would complement" Airtel's growth ambitions. He also noted that OneWeb, which is putting up a low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation as part of its global space internet initiative, would complement Airtel's growth ambitions by helping it connect people via satellites in remote and rural regions, who were beyond reach.

Mittal noted that half the world was still offline highlighting the problems faced by the population in remote areas. He noted that he had never seen a technology like LEO satcoms) that's on the cutting edge to serve remote and rural communication needs.

"We have taken a very big bold bet with OneWeb, which will be one of the first two (global) LEO constellations in space serving every square inch of the worldit will also complement Airtel's ambitions as it helps us serve areas that we couldn't have imagined going to before, be it deserts, mountains, jungles, anywhere," Mittal said. OneWeb, backed by the Bharti Group and the UK government, is slated to roll out satellite internet services in India from June 2022.