Africa spells some poetic justice for Sunil Mittal, a whiff of destiny, perhaps.
In 1992, Mo Ibrahim, founder-CEO Celtel, Africa’s telecom pioneer, was one of the start-up partners of the Bharti consortium. He later sold his 5 per cent stake in Bharti Cellular Ltd, but Mittal remained in touch with the Sudan-born British entrepreneur.
In 2005, Ibrahim sold his firm to Kuwait’s MTC. “At that time, Dr Ibrahim did speak to us and we looked at it. But were not in the league and Celtel was acquired by MTC,” said Mittal.
MTC re-named Celtel as Zain Africa — now in Bharti’s fold. “So the company that was built by our original partner in India, finally ends up in this family,” said Mittal.