Aircel Limited is a mid-sized Indian mobile phone company that operates on GSM network. Earlier, Aircel Limited used to operate in eleven circles including
Aircel Business Solutions (ABS):
Aircel Business Solutions (ABS) is an ISO 9000 certified company it provides various services such as, multi-protocol label switching, virtual private networks, voice over internet protocol, and managed video services on wireless platform. ABS is also a registered member of WiMAX forum.
Previously, Aircel Limited was named Srinivas Cellcom Limited. It was a subsidiary of Aircel Televentures Ltd. (later renamed Siva Ventures Limited), which was the subsidiary of Sterling Infotech Limited., owned by NRI businessman, C Sivasankaran. Aircel Televentures Ltd. comprised of Aircel Limited that provides mobile service to Tamil Nadu excluding Chennai, Aircel Cellular Ltd., the mobile service provider for Chennai and Dishnet Wireless Ltd., the mobile service provider in the northern and eastern parts of
Earlier, in February 2005, Indian government increased the stake limit for foreign investors from 49% to 74%. At that time, Aircel Televentures was approached by a Russian Telecom giant, AFK Sistema. It wanted to buy 49% stake of Aircel Televentures Ltd. for $450 million. Among other companies who were interested to buy Aircel stakes were Hutch, Bharti and Idea Cellular. A deal was made between Hutch and Aircel in June 2004 to buy Aircel for Rs. 12 billion but it did not receive the approval of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Later that year, Maxis Communications Berhad, the largest Malaysian mobile phone operator, decided to buy out Aircel in order to expand its business in the emerging market. The deal was finalized in 2006 and Aircel was sold jointly to Maxis and the Reddy family, owner of the Apollo Hospitals Ltd., the largest Indian health care chain for $1.08 billion. Maxis spent $800 million for the deal. It holds 74% stake in the company. The Reddy family controls the rest under Indian law which requires a minimum 26% stake for local owners in phone companies.
Currently, Aircel is the seventh largest GSM service provider in
Alvarion Ltd., one of the leading WiMAX technology providers, announced that Aircel has been working with the company to use BreezeMAX 3300 in order to deploy WiMAX networks in 50 cities in Eastern and
- So far, Aircel Limited is the largest investment by Maxis in
. To acquire, Aircel Ltd, Aircel Cellular Ltd and Dishnet Wireless Ltd., Maxis and Apollo jointly spent Rs.48.6 billion. India
- In order to spread its business in Kolkata, Aircel invested Rs. 5 billion by 2008. It has further plans to invest another Rs. 10 billion over the next few years.
- In the first one and half year of its operation, Aircel became the top mobile phone operator in Tamil Nadu. Even today, Aircel has remained the largest mobile operator in the region of Tamil Nadu excluding Chennai.
- In December 2003, Sterling Infotech, the then owner of Aircel Limited, bought RPG Cellular Services Ltd., the mobile business arm of the RPG Group. Few months ago, Sterling Infotech bought out Vodafone PLC’s 20.76% stake in RPG Cellular Services Ltd. for $8 million. This was followed by 100% take over by Infotech in exchange of Rs. 2.5 billion. RPG Cellular Services, which has been operating in Chennai, were one of the two original licensed mobile operators in the region and one of the top mobile operators in the region. After buying up the company, Aircel became the top mobile operator in Chennai.
- Aircel started its expansion in 2005 toward Eastern part of the country. It experienced immense success in
and North Eastern provinces in the first eighteen months of its business. Assam
- In 2008, Aircel Limited revealed its plans to invest $4-5 billion over the next three years to expand its business all over
- In February 2009, Aircel announced to launch GSM services in Kerala. The company announced to invest Rs. 5 billion in the next couple of years in Kerala.
- Currently, Aircel is headed by Sandip Das. Previously, he was the managing director of Hutchison Essar currently, Vodafone Essar.
- In 2006, Voice and Data awarded highest rating to Aircel received highest ratings for its overall customer satisfaction and network quality.
- In 2007, Aircel was ranked on Business World’s “List of Best Mid-Size Companies.”
- In 2008, Aircel was selected as the best regional operator by Tele.net.