Bharti Airtel becomes third-largest mobile operator in the world

Bharti Airtel Ltd has become the world's third-largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers with a subscriber base of 303 million, it said on Tuesday.

Bharti Airtel, which has operations in 20 countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Africa in addition to India, moved up one position in global rankings, the company said, citing latest data published by World Cellular Information Service (WCIS).

It pipped China Unicom that ranked fourth with a subscriber base of 299.09 million, followed by America Movil with 274.14 million subscribers. 

China Mobile topped the list with over 626.27 million subscribers across the world, while UK's Vodafone Group is the second-largest telecommunication operator with 403.08 million subscribers.

“This is a major landmark in the journey of Airtel and underlines the strength of our business model and our brand that is loved by customers across 20 countries,” Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, said.

At present, Airtel's mobile network covers over 1.85 billion people across its operations in 20 nations and carried over 1.23 trillion minutes of calls and over 333 petabytes of data in financial year 2014-15.

It is also the largest rural mobile customer base in India with over 100 million mobile customers.

The company's distribution channel is spread across 1.5 million outlets, with a network presence in 5,121 census and 464,045 non-census towns and villages covering around 86.6 per cent of the country's population.

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