With people around every corner talking about Airtel subscriptions, Airtel bill payment, etc. Airtel become one of the most versatile mobile networking companies in the world. However, how has it come about to be? Airtel has a long and fascinating history that has made the company what it is today, over three decades after the company was founded. Let us take a look at this history.
- In 1984, renowned entrepreneur Sunil Mittal began assembling push-button phones which he imported from Taiwan. It was the only alternative to bulky old-fashioned rotary dial phones back then. Bharati Telecom Limited (BTL) then came to being, and it tied up with German company Siemens to manufacture push-button phones. By early 1990s, Bharati Telecom made fax machines, cordless phones and other telecom gear.
- In 1992, it bid for one of the four mobile phone network license auctioned in India. Since one of the conditions for the Delhi cellular license was that the bidders have experience as a telecom operator, Mittal clinched a deal with the French telecom group Viveldi. His plans were finally approved by the government in 1994.
- In 1994, Bharati enterprises got hold of JT holdings, and extended their operations to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It acquired SkyCell communications in Chennai, in 2000. In 2001, it acquired control of Spice Cell in Calcutta. It became public in 2002 and was listed in the Bombay Stock Exchange.In 2003, all its cellular phone services were rebranded under the Airtel brand. In 2004, control over Hexacom was acquired, and the Bharati group expanded to Rajasthan. In 2004, it expanded to Andaman and Nicobar.
- Airtel launched ‘Hello Tunes’, a caller back ring tone service in 2004, becoming the first operator to do so in India. The tune composed by renowned composer A.R Rahman was the most popular