Apple and Bharti Airtel on Friday decided to explore ways to work even more closely, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Bharti Group chairman Sunil Mittal meeting for more than an hour at the latter’s corporate headquarters in Vasant Kunj. Discussions related to tapping synergies between the two at a time when 4G services are being rolled out in the country.
“It was a great meeting. Apple and Airtel go a long way back since Apple was introduced to India through Airtel and continues to be a preferred partner. Given Airtel’s lead in the 4G space, the relationship will become stronger,” a source aware of the talks between the two said.
Bharti’s top team, led by CEO Gopal Vittal, was also present at the meeting. Sunil Mittal’s son Kavin Bharti Mittal who, operates the messenger app Hike, made a presentation, seen as significant given that Hike competes with global messaging app WhatAspp, now owned by Facebook.
Partnering with Bharti, which has the largest number of data users, could give Apple an advantage in ramping up its market share as the telco rolls out 4G services across the country. The Apple CEO’s meeting with Bharti follows meetings with the heads of Vodafone India and Reliance Jio Infocomm in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Tim Cook attended a town hall meeting with employees at Apple’s office in Gurgaon. He also visited e-commerce firm Zomato’s office. On Saturday, the Apple head is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.