Spectrum controversy not to affect telecom growth: Mittal

Spectrum controversy not to affect telecom growth: Mittal

New Delhi: Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Tuesday exuded confidence that the ongoing controversy around the spectrum allocation would not have any bearing on the sector, which is growing by leaps and bounds.

When asked whether the sector was going to face a credibility crisis due to the ongoing controversy on 2G allocation, Sunil Mittal, Bharti Group chairman, said “I don’t think so."

“The Indian telecom industry will continue to flourish... everything else is immaterial," he said.

Bharti Airtel is the largest telecom firm in the country with a subscriber base of 143 million in India.

The Indian telecom sector is going through a tense phase on allegations against the then telecommunication minister A. Raja for allocating 2G airwaves in 2008 at the 2001 rates of Rs1,651 crore, benefitting some telecom players.

The government auditor CAG today submitted his report, according to which the decision of the minister had cost the exchequer Rs1.76 lakh crores.

Mittal also exuded confidence that the company will cross the 100 million subscriber landmark in Africa in two years where it has recently started operations through its acquisition of Zain Telecom.

“In two years, we expect 100 million customers mark from the current 40 million mark in Africa," Mittal told media persons on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit.

Airtel had acquired Kuwait-based Zain’s operations in 15 African countries in June in a deal valued at $10.7 billion.

Bharti Airtel has a subscriber base of about 195 million across 19 countries.

“We are carrying a business model of India in Africa which is well established, celebrated in the World now.Indian model of outsourcinmg is very weel informed there.We have had IBM coming to Nairobi last month and announce one of the biggest IT centres fro Africa in Nairobi itself," he added.