Telecom industry leaders today termed former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away at the age of 93, as father of modern telecommunication in the country. Bharti Enterprise Chairman and founder of Bharti Airtel Sunil Bharti Mittal said he was a great economic reformer and can truly be called father of modern telecommunication in the country, having ushered in the National Telecom Policy in 1999, which "helped the industry overcome some of its toughest early challenges". Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who earlier owned BPL mobile service company, said that Vajpayee was responsible for opening up the telecom sector and giving policy impetus to expand telecommunication sector in the country. Chandrasekhar said the telecom policy of 1999 released by the NDA government under Vajpayee paved the way for structural reforms in the sector, leading to unprecedented growth of mobile subscribers, introduction of fierce competition into the mobile telephony sector, and deep-rooted reforms in the regulatory regime, which was followed up by the amendment of the TRAI Act in 1999. The new telecom policy 1999 allowed companies to provide mobile services on revenue share basis instead of fixed fees that mobile companies had to pay for providing mobile services. "A great economic reformer, as a prime minister he was always guided by a strong conviction that liberalisation would help us realise our economic potential and ultimately open the doors to becoming a globally competitive, strong and resilient economy," Mittal said.