Episode 1: Bharti Airtel

    From assembling push-button phones to establishing one of the leading global telecommunication services, Sunil Bharti Mittal is the first Indian entrepreneur to identify the mobile telecom business as a major growth area in India. He founded Bharti Airtel in 1995.

    Today, Bharti Airtel provides a range of services such as GSM, 3G, 4G LTE, 4G+ mobile services, fixed-line broadband, and voice services. The company ranks amongst the top 3 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers with its operations in nearly 18 countries. As per the reports of March 2020, Airtel has a customer base of over 416.2 million scattered over Asia and Africa. 

    Pre-Lockdown Phase

    The Company added around 63,000 users to its services around January-March. The company despite having a revenue of 875,390 million, a 8.36% rise as compared to the previous year 2018-19 reported a net loss of around 321830 million on account of provisions for statutory dues which also amounted to a loss of 52370 million in last quarter.

    During the Lockdown and Ahead

    The telecom saw a very high swing with the coronavirus outbreak and as the services has been recognized as an “Essential Service”, therefore was also affected by its continued operation during the lockdown. Currently it is playing a vital role in the economy.

    Due to a surge in the data demand and to assure the availability of home broadband service to ease home based operations, Airtel extended the validity of their prepaid plans to May 3 2020 and an additional Rs 10 of talk time was credited in the prepaid accounts of over 80 million customers  allowing its users to stay connected with their mates during the pandemic. Other measures taken to fight the crisis include the two fold increase of data benefits on its Rs 98 top-up pack along with an increase in the talk times of several other prepaid plans.

    Furthermore, Airtel also provided its e-book platform named Juggernaut books to all its end users who could access top books and novels free of cost by downloading an app. 

    Airtel Xstream, which streams different movies and shows online announced a 50% rise in viewership during the lockdown.

    Airtel is expected to maintain its services which will not only help to tackle the situation but also will serve as a way for underprivileged people to have regular access to the network.  As a result, it is expected to see a hike in its revenue for the Financial Year 2020-21. 

    Additionally, the telecom company has recently acquired a 10% stake in “Lattu Kids” which is an education technology-based company focused on providing kids with an e-learning platform. Lattu Kids has recently struck the market hard and is in for a real treat. With many companies intercepting higher profits and goods future gains from the company, it is now already a part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program.

    Although the phase has favored Airtel fruitfully, the market is subject to change. But the company, as it outperformed during the crisis, will try everything in its hands to keep the situation similar in future as well.

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