Chandan Ghosh, Aircel: The risk taker

06 August 2012 | Kavit Majithia

Risks must be taken if wholesale is to survive, says Aircel’s head of business solutions, Chandan Ghosh. Here he shares his views with Kavit Majithia on the shifting paradigm between the wholesale segment and the rest of telecoms.


Chandan Ghosh is, by his own accord, a risk taker. When he’s not immersed in the world of wholesale telecoms and fighting against the threat to his long distance business, he can be found hurtling around Delhi’s infamous and anarchic roads on his Harley Davidson. Even undergoing open heart surgery in April 2011 hasn’t stopped Ghosh from enjoying a Scotch or two, or partaking in a bit of "unconventional cooking".

It takes a brave man to walk away from a lucrative position at one of the largest telecoms companies in the world, Bharti airtel, to join a company at least three times smaller in a business department largely revered as dying.

Ghosh did precisely that when he took his position at Indian company Aircel in 2007 as head of its long distance and wholesale business. His motive? That he didn’t want to sit at Bharti, simply count the...

Topics: Aircel, Chandan Ghosh, wholesale


  • Thanks for the excellent feedback on this article. Chandan was a joy to interview and I hope to maintain our relationship for years to come.

    Kavit Majithia Sep 03, 2012

  • Chandan and Bankim both are right in their own contexts. But i dont entirely agree with Bankim since i see a wide market in the future since the business is getting matured day by day and when any business gets matured then you have a lot whole of possibilites to survive and automatically room for new entrants.

    I run KraTEL Communicaitons a Wholesale and Retail Voip and other telecom products provider based out of Germany ofcourse not as big as Aircee or Bankai but pretty decent. When we entered it was the same thought but as of now we are doing pretty well and infact even trying to help new entrants espcially in the middleast and Africa who are keen to enter in this business. Since if you do not have new entrants and new business their is no competition and if their is no competition then their is no knowledge shared or consumers educated and if consumers are not educated then their is no growth .

    But i even see pretty clear how major players want to kill the new entrants with tough terms and conditions and kill the competition so that they can monopoly which is not a good health for the industry.

    EMKAY Aug 19, 2012

  • While "wholesale bandwidth", may disappear, it will emerge in a new avatar as ultimate, more data will require more bandwidth. Bandwidth in the access which increases as we go from 2G to 4G, will also require a higher capacity backhaul and transmission networks. So probably the best strategy is to keep with the times and evolve the Network as well as the Products, sold based on the networks, in tune with the current and immediate future requirements.

    Protip Ghose Aug 14, 2012

  • Truly inspiring!

    Sourish Aug 13, 2012

  • A nice article. Even internet will require bandwidths, thus while devices could drive up internet bandwidth reducing whole sale bandwidth business, it it important to strngthen the last mile to be able to handle very large bandwidths and there seems to be a major opportunity there as Operators have to upgrade their 2G backhaul extensively, in days to come.

    Protip Ghose Aug 13, 2012

  • A ship in a harbour is safe, but this is not what a ship is built for.. way to go!!

    Abhishek Aug 13, 2012

  • I agree with Kavit, i always get inspiration from Chandan on how to take risk and grow constantly.

    Priyang Patel Aug 13, 2012

  • Very Insightful article. Mr. Ghosh truly is the risk taker. His leadership is very valueable at this difficult time in the Telecom industry.

    Anindita Samanta Aug 13, 2012

  • I am partially agreeing with chandan's view. Wholesale Voice is no more trading business as it was earlier when any new carrier was welcomed easily before one decade, since last 7 years being President & CEO of Bankai Group i am observing that international voice volume is increasing. Bankai was new entrant in Voice business and we have achieved from 100 Million Minutes PA to 5 Billion Minutes PA in 6 years with Revenue growth from 9 Million in 2006 to 90 Million in 2011 and with constant Gross margin.

    This become possible because we adapted right strategies of choosing customers, regions, vendors and controlled cost structure. Our technology business gave us tremendous value addition to win our customers and vendors and now we are literally moving towards growth in three verticals Voice carrier Business increasing 40-60% YOY. Developed our own Intellectual properties to support our existing customers and now we are entering in to Mobile Commerce Business with partnership model.
    But i am fully agree with chandan's view if someone wants to start Voice carrier business now or existing carrier wants to get stabilized their growth they need to come out of trading mentality and do something innovative, need real-time intelligent platforms which monitors and act as revenue assurance to the business and maintain top line.

    Yes the Internet Voice models like skype,Viber and other similar is direct threat for operators because they are bypassing operator's voice network but for skype and viber also profits comes from paid voice customers only who gives them remarkable profit. In my view the free minutes from these Internet Voice companies created more awareness for international calling.

    2010 Skype Revenue $860 million in total 2010 revenue, with much of that coming from 12.8 billion billable minutes of use, Of course most of Skype’s traffic is not billable, accounting for 194 billion minutes (Free) of PC to PC use.

    Again all operators should act well in National DATA network to provide good amount of quality internet to their wireless customers through 4G/LTE, International DATA companies will make deal with first 100 voice carriers to carry the international Voice traffic and carriers will act as arbitrage partner, so there will be no room for new entrant in coming years in Voice carrier Industry and market will consolidate. But at the same time small carriers who are having less than 1 Billion Minutes PA opportunity and business they should get out or diversify in to new similar businesses like, enterprise VOIP etc...

    The first 100 carriers will have great opportunity to enjoy long term growth in business but till this scenario comes they have to invest huge amount of funds to stay in first 100 carriers.

    As chandan righty said about operators but i suggest to Voice carriers they should have 5 years of forward thinking to develop in house technology as well keep Voice volumes intact growing by adopting new way of interconnect and d

    Bankim Brahmbhatt Aug 11, 2012