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Rajan Mittal

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The Connectivity King

Telecom may be the most public face of Bharti Enterprises but as Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the group’s gamut of interests, Rajan Bharti Mittal is as clued into the booming retail and burgeoning insurance businesses as he is into mobile technology.

An alumnus of Harvard Business School, Rajan along with brother Sunil Bharti Mittal have been at the absolute forefront of the country’s telecom revolution – Airtel, the group’s telecom venture, is the 5th largest wireless company in the world with over 200 million customers across 19 countries.

They haven’t done badly for first-generation entrepreneurs. With roots in Ludhiana, Punjab, Rajan, along with brothers Sunil and Rakesh, set up an import business, Bharti Enterprises in 1980 that moved into telecom in 1984 by assembling push-button phones in India after seeing their popularity in Taiwan, where they had import interests. In 1992, when the government invited applications for mobile licenses, Bharti Telecom tied up with French telecom group Vivendi and won the license to launch cellular operations in Delhi.

It was a game-changing move by the brothers, who have gone on to epitomise the possibilities in India’s post-liberalisation boom. Airtel has since become the country’s largest mobile services operator and second largest fixed-line phone company – an incredible achievement given that it only started operations 16 years ago.

Rajan counts among the country’s top entrepreneurs and influencers on policy; apart from being Vice-Chairman of the USD 8.5 billion company, he also serves as president of FICCI, as well as serving on the executive committees of PHDCCI and the India chapter of the International Chambers of Commerce and a host of other industry forums across the telecom, retail and infrastructure spectrum.

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