Sunil Mittal, the Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, is not worried about the launch of Reliance Jio. “One cannot underestimate the size and scale of Reliance Jio. There has been a big event in the market place, but you cannot write us off,” Mittal told ET Now with reference to the possible threat that Mukesh Ambani’s telecom venture poses to Bharti Airtel. “What can we create as an entry barrier? Fight well? We will. I don’t expect any shrinkage in the overall revenue pie,” Mittal told the channel.
Expressing surprise over the time that Reliance Jio took to enter the market, Mittal said, “I give credit to Mukesh Ambani for bringing in a new challenge. Mukesh Ambani was clear that he will only go in for a pan-India play…I am surprised that the Reliance Jio launch took 6-7 years.” Mittal is also not surprised by Reliance Jio’s introductory tariffs. “Reliance Jio launch was not a surprise, it was in the making,” he said. Talking about the ongoing ‘points of interconnect issue’, Mittal said, “The term point of interconnect was not heard 5-6 years back. Point of interconnect is the right of every operator. I think the issue will be resolved in the next few weeks.”
On the evolution of the telecom industry, Mittal said, “India is decisively moving to bucket charges for telecom usage. Telecom market has seen too much turbulence. There was never a dull moment in telecom industry in the past 2 decades.” According to Mittal, customer demands are always rising, and a telecom operator has to catch up with them.
“Telcos work on the basis of packages and not individual tariffs. There is a decline in curve for voice calls. Thankfully, spectrum has become technology-agnostic today,” he said. “I do not feel exposed with our 3G bets. 2G, 3G & 4G will coexist for sometime. 30% of traffic in Delhi continues to be in 2G. The reach of 4G phones is still low in Indian markets,” he said.
Mittal’s comments come in the backdrop of the ongoing telecom tussle, where Reliance Jio has accused incumbents like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular of not providing enough points of interconnect and also denying Mobile Number Portability (MNP). Reliance Jio’s entry has taken the telecom industry by storm, and many analysts feel that it will mark the beginning of a phase of consolidation in the sector.