Vodafone’s woes make Sunil Mittal richer by a billion dollars


  • Sunil Mittal added a billion dollars in his net worth — thanks to Vodafone troubles.
  • Sunil Mittal’s net worth increased to $3.5bn in the last one year.
  • There were rumours that Vodafone is left with no choice but to proceed for insolvence as the joint venture landed with a bill that it can’t afford.
  • This led investors to believe that the weaker Vodafone-Idea is pushing India’s telecom market towards a duopoly between Jio and Airtel.
Billionaire Sunil Mittal, the founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, added a billion dollars to his family net worth in 2019, according to the Hurun Global rich list. His net worth increased to $3.5 billion — all thanks to the woes of Vodafone-Idea.

“Sunil Mittal saw his wealth rise to $3.5 billion propelled by speculations of the Indian telecom market becoming a duopoly, led by Jio and Airtel,” said Hurun Research. This is in spite of the fact that Mittal’s company itself owes ₹35,000 crore to telecom department which has slapped past dues on Vodafone and Airtel both.

Before the spectrum dues issue, Mittal’s net worth dropped from ₹56,500 crore (₹8 billion) to ₹22,500 crore ($3.3 billion) between 2017 and 2018, according to Hurun Research.

After the hefty bills, Vodafone Idea is the worst hit and there are rumours that it will shut shop leaving Indian market - that has a billion mobile connections - with Jio and Airtel.

The payment of dues might not affect the credit quality of Bharti Mittal but it will “reduce its available cash reserves for India operation,” said credit rating agency Moody’s.

In spite of its own troubles, Airtel’s stock jumped from ₹350 in October 2019 to ₹536 in February, as analysts expect a favourable duopoly. He and his family holds 27% stake in Bharti Airtel.


In spite of the many gains, Airtel is not keen on letting Vodafone Idea go down. Bharti Airtel’s chief executive Gopal Vittal said that survival of Vodafone is significant in terms of jobs and investments.

“I think the Vodafone Idea will remain and I wish it thrives…it’s important that India remains a three-player market as that’s good from all perspectives, (as in), investments, jobs and reputation,” Vittal said.

See also:
Billionaire Sunil Mittal got wealthier while Airtel lost a million users every 3 months for a year⁠— here’s why
Every one of India’s biggest billionaires is dealing with the telecom crisis differently
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