|File:Bharti Airtel Limited logo.svg|
|Founded||7 July 1995|
|Founder||Sunil Bharti Mittal|
|Headquarters||Bharti Crescent, 1, Nelson Mandela Road, New Delhi, India|
Sunil Bharti Mittal|
(Chairman and MD)
|Products||Fixed line and mobile telephony, broadband and fixed-line internet services, digital television and IPTV|
|Members||21.828 crore  (2014)|
Airtel is the largest provider of mobile telephony and second largest provider of fixed telephony in India, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services. It offers its telecom services under the "airtel" brand, and is headed by Sunil Bharti Mittal. Bharti Airtel is the first Indian telecom service provider to achieve Cisco Gold Certification. It also acts as a carrier for national and international long distance communication services. The company has a submarine cable landing station at Chennai, which connects the submarine cable connecting Chennai and Singapore.
Airtel operates in all telecom circles of India. Airtel is the largest operator in rural India, with 83.82 million subscribers as of April 2013.
On 18 May 2010, the 3G spectrum auction was completed and Airtel paid the Indian government ₹122.95 billion (US$Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value). billion) for spectrum in 13 circles, the most amount spent by an operator in that auction. Airtel won 3G licences in 13 telecom circles of India: Delhi, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (West), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, North East, and Jammu & Kashmir. Airtel also operates 3G services in Maharastra & Goa and Kolkata circles through an agreement with Vodafone and in Gujarat through an agreement with Idea. This gives Airtel a 3G presence in 15 out of 22 circles in India. Airtel is fined by DoT 3.50 billion for not stopping offering 3G Services through Roaming Pacts outside its Licensed Zones in Seven Circles.
On 20 September 2010, Bharti Airtel said that it had given contracts to Ericsson India, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Huawei Technologies to set up infrastructure for providing 3G services in the country. These vendors would plan, design, deploy and maintain 3G–HSPA (third-generation, high-speed packet access) networks in 13 telecom circles where the company had won 3G licences. While Airtel awarded network contracts for seven 3G circles to Ericsson India, NSN would manage networks in three circles. Chinese telecom equipment vendor Huawei Technologies was introduced as the third partner for three circles.
Airtel launched 3G services in Bangalore on 24 January 2011. On 27 January 2011, Airtel launched 3G in Chennai and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. On 27 July 2011, 3G services were launched in Kerala's 3 largest cities – Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
Airtel 3G services are available in 200 cities through its network and in 500 cities through intra-circle roaming arrangements with other operators. Airtel had about 5.4 million 3G customers of which 4 million are 3G data customers as of September 2012.
On 19 May 2010, the broadband wireless access (BWA) or 4G spectrum auction in India ended. Airtel paid ₹33.1436 billion (US$Lua error in Module:Math at line 495: attempt to index field 'ParserFunctions' (a nil value). million) for spectrum in 4 circles: Maharashtra and Goa, Karnataka, Punjab and Kolkata. The company was allocated 20 MHz of BWA spectrum in 2.3 GHz frequency band. Airtel's TD-LTE network is built and operated by ZTE in Kolkata and Punjab, Huawei in Karnataka, and Nokia Siemens Networks in Maharashtra and Goa. On 10 April 2012, Airtel launched 4G services through dongles and modems using TD-LTE technology in Kolkata, becoming the first company in India to offer 4G services. The Kolkata launch was followed by launches in Bangalore (7 May 2012), Pune (18 October 2012), and Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula(Tricity)(Airtel broadband authorized Distributor in chandigarh) (25 March 2013). Airtel obtained 4G licences and spectrum in the telecom circles of Delhi, Haryana, Kerala and Mumbai after acquiring Wireless Business Services Private Limited, a joint venture founded by Qualcomm, which had won BWA spectrum in those circles in the 4G spectrum auction.
Airtel had 100,000 4G subscribers as of January 2014.
Airtel has started a new mCommerce platform called Airtel Money in collaboration with Infosys and SmartTrust (now Giesecke & Devrient). The platform was launched on 5 April 2012, at Infosys' headquarters in Bangalore. Using Airtel Money, users can transfer money, pay bills and perform other financial transactions directly on the mobile phone. It has an all-India presence. Certain charges are levied per Airtel Money transaction.
The app was launched on 12 September 2012. At the time of launch, it was available only in Bangalore, Mumbai and NCR. Services are currently available in Chennai. Service will be expanded to Pune and Hyderabad by December 2012.
The iPhone 3G was rolled out in India in 2008 by Airtel. However, high prices and contract bonds discouraged consumers and it was not as successful as the iPhone is in other markets of the world. Airtel introduced the iPhone 4 on 27 May 2011 and the iPhone 5 on 2 November 2012.
The Airtel wireless subscriber base according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as of November 2012 was:
- Andhra Pradesh – 18,041,904
- Gujarat – 6,927,459
- Karnataka – 16,044,964
- Maharashtra – 9,849,973
- Tamil Nadu – 10,094,293
- Haryana – 2,267,166
- Kerala – 3,393,868
- Madhya Pradesh – 9,675,239
- Punjab – 6,851,338
- Rajasthan – 14,385,762
- Uttar Pradesh (East) – 15,105,455
- Uttar Pradesh (West) – 6,556,052
- West Bengal – 9,084,371
- Assam – 3,809,218
- Bihar – 18,527,460
- Himachal Pradesh – 1,915,405
- Jammu and Kashmir – 2,300,268
- North East India (excluding Assam) – 2,551,134
- Orissa – 6,696,681
Airtel is the market leader in India with about 183 million wireless subscribers in India or about 20.62% market share at the end of November 2012. In 2013 version of the The Brand Trust Report published by Trust Research Advisory, Airtel is placed as the most trusted mobile operator brand in India.
Net Neutrality Debate
In April 2015, Airtel launched a marketing platform called Airtel Zero, which allows application providers to pay for the data used by the consumers, enabling consumers to access specific mobile apps at zero data cost. Flipkart, a leading Indian e-commerce firm reportedly was to become the launch partner of "Airtel Zero". The issue triggered debate on net neutrality in India and following protests Flipkart pulled out of Airtel Zero.
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