Personalities

We haven’t missed a call since Sunil Bharti Mittal gave India its first mobile phone, Airtel

Sunil Bharti Mittal has committed to invest 16 billion dollars (more than Rs. 1, 00, 000 crores) in the next five years in ‘Digital India’ initiatives. At one of the CSR events in Delhi many years ago, I remember Sunil Bharti Mittal saying, “I can only keep what I have by giving it away.” It was a very powerful statement, reflective of Mittal’s benevolent tendency. Sunil Bharti Mittal has revealed that the money will be used to build deeper infrastructure, like taking 4G connectivity to the masses, e-health, and taking e-education to every village.

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Bharti Enterprises Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, is the first generation entrepreneur, unlike a few other major business houses, which have at best enhanced the legacy of the family business. His flagship company, Bharti Airtel, is the number one mobile company in India, and the third largest, globally!

From making crankshafts for local bicycle manufacturers, his first business venture, to becoming the undisputed leader in the mobile phone sector, Sunil Bharti Mittal is a cut above the rest.

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He is a capitalist, but with a difference. His contribution towards educating India through the Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Bharti Group, has made unprecedented difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of underprivileged children. Many have grown to become part of the mainstream society, earning and sustaining families. It’s not rags to riches for them, but at least, they are able to earn a respectable living. It is only after listening to life-changing stories that we are truly able to grasp the significance of people like Sunil Bharti Mittal, to India.

The literacy rate in India could very soon see a hike. Poor children across India, who’d normally remain illiterate, get free education in over 254 schools set up in far-flung villages across the country. Offering free, quality education with free books, uniform and mid-day meals to poor children are only few of the social responsibilities that the Bharti Enterprise is involved in.

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Bharti Airtel that has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa!

Today, there are 228.25 million subscribers and I am one of them. He was one of the first Indian entrepreneurs to identify the mobile telecom business as a major growth area and has taken the mobile space by storm. I was one of the first subscribers of the cellular services in the mid-90s, and it made a huge difference to me. I remember once I was getting late and my father was hysterically worried about my well-being. I had just been gifted with a new motorcycle, Yamaha RX 100, and he didn’t think I was responsible enough. But guess what, I was carrying AirTel cellular phone, and I was able to pacify my dad that all was well.

Today, we can connect to Laddakh, and all other remote regions. Poorest of the poor has an Airtel phone. It’s his most prized possession, a tool that connects him to his loved ones spread across India to earn a living for his family.

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Connectivity is the most critical element in our lives. We don’t have to wait for letters and postcards to reach our loved ones today, we don’t have to 100s of rupees just for one call. Sunil Bharti Mittal has not only empowered us with mobile phones, his work has been proved to be a massive boost in business dealings, trading, net banking, online shopping, every other areas.