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Aircel is an Indian mobile network operator headquartered in Chennai, which offe

rs voice and data services ranging from postpaid and prepaid plans, 2G and 3G se
rvices, broadband wireless access (BWA), Long Term Evolution (LTE) to value-adde
d services (VAS). In 2006, Aircel was acquired by Malaysia s biggest integrated co
mmunications service provider Maxis (Maxis Communication Berhard) and is a joint
venture with Sindya Securities and Investments Pvt Ltd Maxis holds 74% equity i
n the company.[5]
Aircel commenced operations in 1999 by Chinnakannan Sivasankaran and today is th
e leading mobile operator in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Odisha, North-East India and Che
nnai. It is India's fifth-largest GSM mobile service provider,[6] with a subscri
ber base of over 80.01 million. It has a market share of 8% among wireless opera
tors in the country.[7]
Aircel also obtained permission from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)
to provide international long distance (ILD) and national long distance (NLD) te
lephony services. It also has the largest service in Tamil Nadu.
Aircel became 5th largest telecom service provider in January 15 after the annou
ncement of telecom minister that public operator BSNL lost so many customers and
became 6th largest.
Aircel 79.62 million BSNL 78.12 million Tata Docomo 68 million (January 15)
Contents [hide]
1 Timeline and early history
2 Core business
2.1 3G
2.2 4G
2.3 Aircel Business Solutions
2.4 Other business initiatives
3 Cost cutting
4 Sponsorships and brand ambassadors
5 Share-holders
6 Controversies and acquisition rumours
7 See also
8 References
9 External links
Timeline and early history[edit]
Aircel started as a regional player in Tamil Nadu in 1999.[8] Soon, it became th
e leading operator in Tamil Nadu. At one time, Aircel was the fastest growing op
erator in India.[8] Because of this, it attracted foreign investments and Malays
ian operator Maxis Communications bought a 74 percent stake in the company in 20
05 from its Indian owner Chinnakannan Sivasankaran.
In 2010, the company bought 3G and wireless broadband (BWA) spectrum in 13 and 8
circles respectively in the 2010 spectrum auction.[8] It paid US$1.44 billion (
INR 79.1 billion) for the 3G spectrum and US$0.76 billion (INR 49.76 billion) fo
r BWA.[8] Of this, the company raised $0.88 billion (INR 48.3 billion) from Deut
sche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and Barclays. It also took a $0.44 bill
ion (INR 24.2 billion) one-year bridge loan from HSBC, Punjab National Bank and
Axis Bank.[8] The company, as of November 2012, has around 5 million 3G customer
s.Aircel launched its 4G LTE the first quarter of 2015 in 5 Circles out of 8 cir
cles where it has license to provide 4G LTE on 2300 MHz band but it is still ava
ilable to Business users and not for personal users.
AIRCEL also bagged 15 MHz spectrum on 1800 MHz band to provide future use (4G on
1800 MHz ) for TamilNadu .[9][dated info]
Core business[edit]

On 19 May 2010, the 3G spectrum auction in India ended. Aircel paid INR 65,000 m
illion for spectrum in 13 circles: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir
, Karnataka, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, North East, Orissa, Punja
b, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (East) & Uttarakhand and West Bengal.[10]
Aircel has introduced new price plans for its consumers and are termed to be the
cheapest in the country. Following the key players in 3G, Aircel also slashed i
ts 3G tariff.[11]
On 11 June 2010, the broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum auction in India e
nded. Aircel paid INR 34380 million for spectrum in eight circles: Andhra Prades
h, Assam, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, North East, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal
.[12] It also has 3G spectrum in all these circles.
Aircel has launched 4G services in Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir in August 2014
, becoming the only private telecom operator to offer all the three existing tec
hnologies of 2G, 3G and 4G in these markets.[13]
Chinese equipment maker ZTE announced on 30 December 2013, that it had won a con
tract to deploy a 4G broadband network based on LTE technology for Aircel. The L
TE network will be launched in Tamil Nadu, and expand to a few other business cr
itical circles in the first stage.[14][15] On 16 July 2014, it launched 4G servi
ces in four circles Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Odisha.[16]
Aircel Business Solutions[edit]
Aircel Business Solutions (ABS), part of Aircel, sells enterprise solutions such
as Multiprotocol Label Switching Virtual Private Networks (MPLS VPNs), Voice ov
er Internet Protocol (VoIP) and managed video services on wireless platforms inc
luding WiMAX.
Other business initiatives[edit]
Aircel on 27 May 2011 launched the Apple iPhone 4 apart from Bharti Airtel, whic
h is one of the most popular smartphones in the contemporary world.[17]
Telecom operator Aircel announced that its partnership with Wikimedia Foundation
to offer free mobile Wikipedia access to its customers. The alliance is aimed a
t making knowledge available on Wikipedia accessible to all Aircel customers in
both rural and urban areas for free. This initiative is a part of the foundation s
Wikipedia Zero Programme to reach mobile internet users around the World[18] Bu
t from 2 March 2015, subscribers of Aircel no longer can access Wikipedia Zero.
Cost cutting[edit]
As a part of a major re-organization in its operations, the company decided to h
alt operations in five telecom circles, namely Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana,
Kerala and Punjab.[19] It also decided to cut 600 jobs.[20] This is part of a s
eries of steps to cut costs and thereby make the company more efficient in the h
ighly competitive Indian telecom market. As of November 2012, Aircel has closed
down dealerships in Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, UP west and Gujarat. Only online re
charge facility is available in these circles. Aircel still continues its operat
ions in Rajasthan and Punjab as of November 2012. It has more than 2.6 million c
ustomers in Rajasthan circle and is adding about 140,000 customers per month in
this circle. As per the January 2015 subscription data published by TRAI, Aircel
had a subscriber base stood at 79 million.[21]
Sponsorships and brand ambassadors[edit]
Aircel is one of the sponsors of the Indian Premier League cricket team Chennai
Super Kings and I-League side Shillong Lajong FC. It is also the major sponsors
for the Chennai Open (the only ATP tennis tournament in India) and the Professio

nal Golf Tour of India. Aircel also spearheads the Save the Tiger campaign for p
rotecting India's tigers.
The brand ambassadors of Aircel include the Indian cricket team captain Mahendra
Singh Dhoni and Tamil actor Suriya. Aircel is also engaging with Mary Kom, the
female boxer, Dhanush, another Tamil actor and Sameera Reddy, a Bollywood actres
s for their Celebrity Chat series.[22]
It was announced on 22 Oct 2014 that Aircel will be the principal sponsor for At
ltico de Kolkata FC of the Indian Super League.
Maxis, Aircel's majority stake holder at that time, raised INR 11.2 billion (USD
3.36 billion) for its shareholders (UTSB), making it the largest IPO in Malaysi
a, Southeast Asia and Latin America.[citation needed] Maxis has 74% stake and th
e remaining 26% is owned by Apollo Hospitals.[citation needed]
Controversies and acquisition rumours[edit]
Aircel is being investigated by CBI for alleged irregularities in the Maxis take
over. According to CBI, Aircel's previous owner C. Sivasankaran was forced to se
ll his stake to Maxis by the then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran in 2005. As a
result, Maxis did a quid pro quo investment of Rs. 5 billion in a DTH company o
wned by the Maran family.[23]
There were also rumours in September 2012 that the Russian company Sistema was i
n talks to acquire Aircel. However, that hasn't been confirmed by either of the
companies.[24] Sistema is the parent company of MTS, which is a CDMA operator in
Aircel was one among seven operators to receive notices from the Department of T
elecommunications for not meeting radiation norms in their base tower stations i
n September 2012.[25]
As a part of its cost cutting practices, Aircel started scaling down services in
five circles. However, Aircel also shut down many cell sites[where?] which left
many of its customers without coverage. Users had to travel to areas covered by
Aircel in order to obtain a porting code.[26]
See also[edit]
Telecommunications Statistics in India
Maxis Communications
Dayanidhi Maran
Mobile network operators of India