Friday, February 15, 2008

GSMA Chairman's Award 2008 Presented to India's Sunil Bharti Mittal

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder, Chairman and Group CEO of India's Bharti Enterprises was presented with the GSMA Chairman's Award, the Association's most prestigious honour. This Award, established in 1995, recognises outstanding contribution to the growth and development of mobile communications around the world.

Presenting the Award at the GSMA's Global Mobile Awards evening - one of the highlights of the Mobile World Congress - in Barcelona's National Palace, GSMA Chairman Craig Ehrlich said:

"Sunil has built an incredibly successful business from scratch, one which has had a truly transformational impact on our industry, on the customers he serves and on India's economy. His brave and ambitious strategies will continue to resonate across the country, our industry and the business community globally, becoming a benchmark for emerging markets worldwide. We congratulate Sunil, on what has been an immense personal contribution to the vitality of the mobile world."

Bharti Airtel is now India's leading private integrated telecom company. With an innovative outsourcing model, dedicating major resource to customer service and outsourcing the IT and the networks, Sunil was able to reduce tariffs from more than 20 cents a minute to less than two cents, catalysing a real shift in the economic model for emerging markets.

On the receiving the award Sunil Bharti Mittal said, "This is a tremendous honour and I would like to thank the GSM Association for considering me worthy of this award. This award is a tribute to India's telecom growth story, Bharti's vision and the emergence of Indian telcos on the global stage. It has been a privilege for me personally and Bharti Airtel to have been a part of this telecom revolution that has delivered affordable telecom services for all and has transformed the lives of millions across India."

Sunil started his career after graduating from Punjab University, founding Bharti in 1976, with a loan of just US$1500. Today, at 50 he heads a diverse enterprise, among the top five in India, with a market capitalization of over US$ 35 billion employing over 30,000 people. Committed to his vision of connecting people via communication across the broad spectrum of Indian society, Sunil has led a business revolution to achieve his aim of sustainably serving and connecting the lowest income strata of Indian society.

Sunil's other passion is education. In a country, where 300 million people do not have access to education, he has initiated a programme aimed at delivering high quality primary education to poorest of children by setting up hundreds of schools in the most remote villages of India.

"He is now extending his Midas touch to Indian retail and Indian agriculture. I just know he will do for these two sectors what he has done for mobile - and Indian consumers will be the big winners," added Craig Ehrlich.

About the GSMA:

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association's members serve more than 2.5 billion customers - 85% of the world's mobile phone users.

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