Well connected

Bharti Telenet CEO K Krishnan talks about his company's success in India's crowded telecom market and its future plans

K KrishnanChennai: Gone are the days when voice connection drove the data and Internet traffic for basic telecom players. "Today, it is the other way round," says K Krishnan, CEO, Bharti Telenet, which offers basic telephony in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

With the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) well entrenched in the fixed voice telephony and the mobile players — cellular and wireless — in the local loop (WLL) queering the market pitch, the private basic telephony players have to offer something different to be of relevance to the customers. It is where fast-data connectivity at affordable rates comes into play.

Service providers know this. Bharti Telenet recently introduced new schemes to attract dial-up Internet users to its digital subscriber line (DSL) connection. It's competitor, Tata Teleservices, has signed with Dishnet DSL, an Internet service provider (ISP), to offer broadband net access to its subscribers.

Krishnan, a 48-year-old old chartered and cost accountant, started his career with the audit firm AF Ferguson. He later moved on to the corporate world — first with Coromandel Fertilisers and later with the RPG group. "I was with the RPG group for 10 years," he says.

He spent first four years with Fujitsu ICIM, heading the finance and manufacturing operations. In 1994, he moved to Chennai to head RPG Cellular Services. Three years later, Krishnan went to Kolkata as managing director of Saregama India, the RPG group's music business.