Sunil Mittal Biography

One of the main faces behind the cellular revolution in India, Sunil Bharti Mittal is the chairman and managing director of the Bharti group, which owns India's largest GSM-based mobile phone service. Born on June 15, 1950 in Ludhiana, Punjab, he graduated from the Punjab University and set up a small bicycle business in Ludhiana, not wanting to follow the footsteps of his father who was an M.P. In 1979, he moved to Mumbai and started selling portable generators imported from Japan.

Business was good initially, but it ran into rough weather when the government banned the import of generators as two Indian companies were awarded licenses to manufacture them in India. The year 1986 saw Sunil Bharti Mittal founding the Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL) which started manufacturing electronic push-button phones.

His lucky break came in 1992, when the government began issuing licenses for mobile phone services for the first time. Sunil Mittal bagged the licence for the Delhi cellular circle. In 1995, he founded the Bharti Cellular Limited (BCL) and the brand Airtel was launched. The rest as they say is history. He has won a number of awards including the Asian Businessman of the Year by the Fortune Magazine in 2006, the Business Leader Of The Year by the Economic Times in 2005 and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2004. He is one of richest Indians across the world. The Bharti group in 2006 forged a deal with the US retail giant Wal-Mart to start a number of retail stores across India.