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The War of Czars-II: When the Czars fight

July 19, 2008

Continued from The War of Czars-I

This entire situation may look a tight rope walk, but has its own story to tell.
Ambani brothers and Mittal go a long way together in the past. Though not often in happy memories.Reliance Group, in fact had Mittal strung by its nose, back in 2004-2005, with the swift,clinical and almost cold blooded execution of the INFOCOMM rollout.
Trust me, Bharti didn’t see it coming and on the back of INFOCOMM’s’cheaper-than-postcard’ rates and almost flawless distribution model, BattlesShip Bharti was almost preparing its elegy. In a short time, INFOCOMM lodged Mittal from the top position. The war had begun.

But then Mittal found a silver line, when rival INFOCOMM found itself in a slew of legal battles: billing problems, illegal call routing problems, deteriorating market image.
Mittal pulled his socks and went back to work. Mittal himself acknowledges in his interview to Vir Sanghvi for the latter’s book, Men of Steel, that he saw a lot of ‘underdog’ movies at those times.

Around a year later, Airtel was back in the race and leading it. Since then, Reliance Industries has split, management problems have dogged RCOM for some time, and life became a bit easier for Airtel.

Now the situation takes a classic Mexican Standoff. Airtel points its gun towards RCom, RCom standing pointed its gun towards RIL and RIL with its focus trained towards RCOM.

May heavens be with us.

How do I see it pan out?

Given the chance,that situation is seemingly delicate and time extremely crucial, there is no denying that, RIL wants MTN as badly as Airtel desires it. But the catch is there will be an apparent shift in the management which is totally unacceptable to Mukesh Ambani. So it is the age old control vs opportunity trope being fought out.
Who will win.
My chips are on Airtel.


[The author, Soham Das takes a passionate interest in business innovation,electronics and environment. An avid blogger and technology guy, he spends most of his time studying charts or bringing up projects for his employer. When he is not blogging on markets, technology and their business issues, he spends his time conceiving and executing projects for a hi-tech electronics startup based out of South India. Mail him at sohamdas at gmail dot com. He is listening]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2008 8:49 am

    Wow..i love the microupdate…can u give link to the full article from Sunday Times?

  2. July 21, 2008 11:09 am


    These type of verbal bravado is being hurled almost daily in British media. The irony being, the clash between the two richest individuals of the world’s most populous and dynamic country closely resembles, Jeffrey Archer’s story… 😀

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