Bharti Airtel To Focus On 4G, Rural Mobile Broadband, Youth

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Bharti Airtel’s CEO for India and South Asia Sanjay Kapoor outlined the three most significant opportunities for his company as it looks to drive its business in the face of declining growth in voice revenues.

The first significant area is India’s young population, Kapoor said in his Mobile Asia Expo keynote address yesterday. “We think the biggest opportunity in our part of the world is actually the youth population,” he said. With 50 percent of the population in India aged 26 or less, this is a significant opportunity, as they aren’t afraid to spend money. “This population has a chance to bridge the digital divide between the developing and developed world. They are the game changers,” Kapoor said.

The development of 4G networks is another big opportunity for operators in India. “This enables the speed of change to be much faster,” Kapoor noted, adding that wireless is likely to have a greater impact on the uptake of the internet due to the relatively undeveloped fixed infrastructure.

Despite India being late to adopt 2G and 3G than more developed parts of the world, Kapoor stressed that Bharti Airtel will make sure this isn’t the case for 4G. “We are absolutely launching these services in line with the rest of the world,” he said.

The final area of opportunity cited by Kapoor was bringing mobile broadband into rural areas, where low penetration means there is a huge opportunity for expansion. “The opportunity is so much that no matter what direction you go, you will still go upwards,” he said.

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