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Interview: Manoj Kohli of Bharti Airtel

01 April 2008

Interview: The CEO of market leader Bharti Airtel is struggling to maintain growth in the face of a shortage of spectrum, but he sees big prospects, though lower revenue, in rural areas. Manoj Kohli explains his strategy to Sonya Dutta Choudhury

Read more: Bharti Airtel India Manoj Kohli Sunil Mittal

Manoj Kohli: wants to make Bharti Airtel the Toyota of telecom


I meet Manoj Kohli at his office in New Delhi's spanking new business district. It's a wintry February afternoon in the Indian capital city's suburb of Gurgaon, and there's dust in the air.
Giant glass towers and sprawling malls dot the dry landscape, and cranes and construction are everywhere. Gurgaon, like much of urban India, is expanding — and expanding fast. So much so that the new Gurgaon-Delhi expressway is already congested.
It's a congestion that extends to the country's airwaves as well, as the growing telecom industry here faces its biggest resource crunch ever — that of spectrum.
For Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile operator with revenues last year of $4 billion, this constraint could be critical. Indeed the last few months have seen the stocks of telecom majors, hitherto the darlings of India's stock market;...