The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bharti in festive mood

Calcutta, Sept. 13: It’s festival time and with the bonus cheques coming your way, you just can’t stop smiling. AirTel, the cellular service provider from Bharti Mobitel, is also gearing up to join in the festivities. Group chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal today said the company is preparing a special tariff package for subscribers in the festival period.

Mittal was in the city to accept an award for Outstanding Young Achievers Award from the Young Leader’s Forum.

AirTel will also unveil an awareness campaign to educate people regarding the usefulness of a mobile phone. The campaign, which will be launched in the first week of October, will aim at changing the perception of mobile phones as a costly indulgence. “Of the 5 lakh customers we added during the last year, only 20,000 were from Calcutta,” rued Mittal. “There is a need to project cellphones as an affordable service to foster growth in this market.”

Bharti also plans to bid for licences in Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern states. “We will be in a position to deliver value to our shareholders in the next few months,” said Mittal. “The company is already making operating profits, but we are not aiming at net profits.”

Mittal said the company has already invested around Rs 8,000 crore across the country and brought in foreign direct investment worth $ 1 billion. “Currently, we have Rs 5,000 crore in equity and a debt-equity ratio of 6:1. If the government raises the FDI cap in the telecom sector to 74 per cent, it would enable us to raise more capital from the international market.” He added the company had enough funds to finance upcoming projects and was not planning to raise funds from the international markets in the immediate future.

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