Bharti Airtel’s Ajay Chitkara: Why companies should invest in India & SAARC
07 December 2017 | Jason McGee-Abe
Ahead of the inaugural Capacity India & SAARC event in New Delhi (7 & 8 February 2018), Capacity spoke to Ajay Chitkara, director and CEO of global voice and data business at Bharti Airtel, to find out how the carrier is helping to make India an IP hub and why companies should invest in the region.
Q: With wholesale pricing on an acknowledged downward spiral, where does Airtel see the most promising growth opportunities in the India & SAARC market?
At Airtel, we focus on understanding the customer and enhancing their overall experience. We do this with a strategic three-pronged approach: digital ecosystem, product innovation, and network performance enhancement.
On the digital front, we are significantly investing in curating a superior online experience for our customers with which they can drive their businesses efficiently, while boosting agility and transparency. We recently launched our flagship digital innovation programme – ‘Project Next’ under which we will invest ₹2000 crores over the next three years, to make the digital journey of customers simple, interactive and transparent. To augment our product portfolio, we have introduced innovative products like bandwidth on-demand, content distribution and monetisation, a global messaging suite and SD-WAN. In addition to this, we have connected India and SAARC with meshed terrestrial network, making India an ‘IP hub’ which can address growing demand for data intensive services. Additionally, we are undertaking a massive network overhaul under our network transformation programme - Project Leap.
Q: Why should companies invest in the India & SAARC market?
Both India and the entire SAARC region are very attractive markets with immense growth opportunity given the growing adoption of digital services and ever evolving digital-savvy customers here. A lot of this growth has been led by the increase in affordable smart phones, reduced data costs, explosion in content providers and OTTs and the advent of connected devices. We believe the market will provide abundant opportunities for next-generation internet companies to invest and grow their customer base.
Q: Why did Airtel decide to partner with Capacity Conferences to bring a new event to New Delhi/ Gurgaon? How will the international carrier community benefit from attending Capacity India & SAARC?
Given our global telecom network, integrated product portfolio and vast subscriber base we are perfectly placed to offer a deep understanding of the Indian market and leverage our vast customer base and distribution network. By partnering with Capacity, we aim to offer a unique platform to companies globally providing an opportunity for international telecom players to understand the market better, and collaborate with their Indian counterparts to create synergies. The conference will play host to leading international carriers, network operators, ISPs, cable operators, IXPs, content providers, data centres and cloud SPs, Indian telecom companies, and government representatives to provide them a 360-degree view of the market. Participants will get an in-depth perspective into the Indian telecom market and will be able to understand growth drivers so they can identify potential revenue streams, and build a reliable partner ecosystem.