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Sunil Bharti Mittal – An Inspirational Career Story

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Sunil Bharti Mittal – An Inspirational Career Story

Introduction :

Sunil Bharti Mittal is one of the few success stories of Modern India. A first generation entrepreneur Mittal had few luxuries starting his Business career. From selling Bicycle parts to becoming the world’s best CEO in the Telecom Sector and the champion of India’s top Telecom Service Provider, Bharti-Airtel, Sunil Bharti Mittal has travelled along a long path filled with hardships and always found a way out, a better way out. Unlike many of his peer Business tycoons, Sunil Mittal didn’t have a legacy or Godfathers. He made his empire brick by brick. He is truly Modern India’s Business Icon.



  • Bachelors degree in Arts from the Punjab University in 1976.



  • 2000,Chosen as one of the top entrepreneurs of the world for the year
  • ‘Stars of Asia’ by Business Week
  • 2002, Received the IT Man of the Year from Dataquest.
  • 2002, CEO of the year award, adjudged by the World HRD Congress.
  • 2002,Asian Telecom CEO award
  • 2006, CEO of the Year at the Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific ICTAwards.
  • 2007, Padma Bhushan
  • Sunil Bharti Mittal conferred Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by G. B. Pant University
  • 2008, GSM Association Chairman’s Award, it is the highest honour in global telecom sector.


career guide

Career :

  • Sunil Mittal started his first business in 1976,at the age of 18, making crankshafts for local bicycle manufacturers.
  • He sold his bicycle parts and yarn factories and moved to Mumbai in 1980.
  • In 1981, He purchased importing licenses from exporting companies in Punjab. He imported Suzuki Motor’s portable electric power generators from Punjab.
  • In 1983,the government banned the import of generators and granted the manufacturing rights to just 2 companies. Sunil Mittal was out of business overnight.
  • In 1984, he started assembling portable push button phones in India replacing the old bulky Rotary Disc phones which were widely used in India. He had a tie up with Siemens AG and thus Bharti Telecom Ltd or (BTL) was born. His Beetel brand of phones revolutionised the telephone market in India replacing once and for all the rotary disc phones.
  • In 1992, he successfully bid for one of the four available mobile networking licenses auctioned in India. He did so in collaboration with French telecom group Vivendi
  • In 1995, the Bharti Cellular Limited was formed to offer cellular services under the brand name AirTel. It has become the number one cellular operator in India . Bharti has brought down the STD/ISD cellular rates in India with the IndiaOne brand. IndiaOne was the first private national as well as international long distance service provider in India.
  • In 2006, Mittal has struck a joint venture deal with Walmart, the US retail giant to start a number of retail stores in India.
  • In 2006,he attracted many key executives form Reliance ADAG,NIS Sparta to create Bharti Comtel.
  • He has recently managed to acquire African Telecom service Zain Telecom to become the first telecom service provider based out of India to have a global presence.
  • Bharti -AirTel has also managed to acquire a major chunk of the 3G licenses in the recently held auctions and is poised to become a leading service provider of 3G services in India.


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Vision :

When the Government banned imports of generators to India in 1983, Sunil Mittal was out of business. He found a new opportunity in trading push button phone. He created a new path by himself as he faced a roadblock. Sunil Mittal had the Vision to start a trade that no one else had even thought of. His venture changed telephony in India. He virtually replaced the old age telephonic mechanisms in the country with new age instruments and eventually with new age cellular technology.

Beginners Advantage :

Sunil Mittal has always believed in the theory of being path breakers. He believes that the customer always believes in the First Company more than the next. Airtel was the first to bring down the roaming rates. It was one of the first to eliminate costs for Incoming calls and several similar firsts. Sunil Mittal vision and also his constant pursuit at bringing new offers and new technology into the telecom sector have helped him become the King of Telecom.

Speed First, Perfection Follows :

In an interview for Knowledge@Warton, Sunil Mittal claims that the success of Bharti is because they were great advocates of speed. He believes in bring out products quickly and as mentioned in the earlier point claim the beginner’s advantage. Speed brings new customers and opens up newer opportunities. It isn’t always necessary to get everything perfect to bring out products. Perfection will follow eventually once products are rolled out. Mittal has won millions of customers from bring out new products before competitors. Another Major advantage is that he was always concentrating on only one business, Telecom; unlike competitors for whom Telecom was just another business this helped him bring out products and services faster.



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