Bharti Airtel eyeing higher revenues from digital services, says Sunil Mittal

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Bharti Airtel is betting big on its digital businesses with several offerings in the field of cloud, cyber security, data centres and the like, which would yield revenues of several billion dollars in the coming few years, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal said on Thursday. He said the company has taken a lot of initiatives on the digital front.

“Our digital revenues should start to become meaningful in their own right in several billion dollars over the next few years and thankfully, the valuations and multiples that one generates in the digital business is significantly better because of low capex than telecom, which is a very solid business but capital guzzling,” Mittal said during a CII session. He said telecom and digital is a good combination for the Bharti Group.

Mittal said Airtel is trying newer things, which have never been tried by a telecom company before. “We have communication platform as a services (CPass), we have cloud and security systems in place, we are now adding surveillance to it and from few dozen people working for Airtel, we have today just under 3,000 people in the digital group,” Mittal said.

He, however, added that getting the right talent for digital is difficult. “Getting people is harder, it’s becoming difficult as talent out there has choices, especially new age firms offering stocks and salaries, and that becomes attractive and people can work remotely. Therefore, you have to make yourself really relevant and attractive for the talent. It’s a hard task but thankfully Airtel remains a very attractive place to work,” he said.

Mittal said Airtel is on its way to being not just a telecom company, but a powerful digital company which serves the need beyond connectivity.