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This article is about the mobile network operator. For the comic book company, see Aircel Comics. For other uses, see Air cell.
Joint venture
Industry Telecommunications
Founded In 1999
Headquarters Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Key people
Kaizad Heerjee, CEO[1]
Products Mobile telephony, wireless broadband services
Revenue Increase US$ 1.159 billion (2012)[2]
Members 83.05 million[3] (June 2015)
Parent Maxis Communications (74%)[4]
Sindya Securities and Investments (26%)[5]
Slogan The joy of a little extra

Aircel is an Indian mobile network operator headquartered in Chennai, which offers voice and 2G, 3G and 4G data services. Maxis Communications holds a 74% stake and Sindya Securities and Investments holds the remaining 26%.[4] Aircel was founded by C Sivasankaran and commenced operations in Tamil Nadu in 1999. It is the fifth largest mobile service provider in India with a subscriber base of 83.05 million subscribers as of June 2015.[6] [7] Aircel is a market leader in Tamil Nadu and has considerable presence in Odisha, Assam and North-East circles.


Aircel was founded by Indian entrepreneur C Sivasankaran and started its operations in Tamil Nadu in 1999.[8] It became the leading operator in Tamil Nadu and one of the fastest growing mobile operators in India.[8] Malaysian telecom company Maxis Communications bought a 74 percent stake in the company in 2005 from its Indian owner Chinnakannan Sivasankaran. The remaining 26% stake is held by Sindya Securities and Investments promoted by Suneeta Reddy, Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals group.



On 19 May 2010, the 3G spectrum auction in India ended. Aircel paid 65,000 million for spectrum in 13 circles: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, North East, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, UP East and West Bengal.[9] It paid US$1.44 billion ( 79.1 billion) for the 3G spectrum.[8] The company, as of November 2012 has about 5 million 3G customers. 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 its 3G tariff.[10] In 2011, Aircel became the launch partner for Apple iPhone 4 along with Bharti Airtel.[11]


In June 2010, Aircel paid 34380 million for acquiring wireless broadband spectrum in eight circles: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, North East, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.[12] Aircel launched 4G services in Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir in August 2014, becoming the only private telecom operator to offer all the three existing technologies of 2G, 3G and 4G in these markets.[13] Chinese equipment maker ZTE announced on 30 December 2013, that it had won a contract to deploy a 4G broadband network based on LTE technology for Aircel. The LTE network will be launched in Tamil Nadu and will be expanded later to other circles.[14][15] On 16 July 2014, it launched 4G services in four circles Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Odisha.[16]

Business Solutions[edit]

Aircel Business Solutions (ABS), part of Aircel, sells enterprise solutions such as Multiprotocol Label Switching Virtual Private Networks (MPLS VPNs), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and managed video services on wireless platforms including WiMAX.


Aircel has a subscriber base of over 80 million with a market share of 8% among wireless operators in the country and is India's fifth-largest GSM mobile service provider [6][17] Aircel is a market leader in Tamil Nadu and has considerable presence in Odisha, Assam and North-East circles. In 2012, as a part of a major re-organization in its operations, the company ceased its operations in five telecom circles, namely Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala and Punjab. In April 2015, Aircel relaunched its service in Kerala.[18][19]

Sponsorship and brand ambassdors[edit]

Aircel is the main shirt sponsor of Indian Premier League cricket team Chennai Super Kings and I-League football team Shillong Lajong FC. Aircel is also the principal sponsor for Atlético de Kolkata FC who play in the Indian Super League football competition. It is also a major sponsor of the Chennai Open ATP tennis tournament and the Professional Golf Tour of India. Aircel also sponsors the Save the Tiger campaign for protecting India's tigers. The brand ambassadors of Aircel include the Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Tamil actor Suriya. Aircel also engaged with boxer Mary Kom, Tamil actors Dhanush and Sameera Reddy.[20]


Aircel is being investigated by CBI for alleged irregularities in the Maxis takeover. According to CBI, Aircel's previous owner C. Sivasankaran was forced to sell his stake to Maxis by the then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran in 2005 in return for Maxis' investment of Rs. 5 billion in a DTH company owned by the Maran family.[21] There were also rumors in September 2012 that the Russian company Sistema was in talks to acquire Aircel which wasn't confirmed by either companies.[22] Aircel was one among seven operators to receive notices from the Department of Telecommunications for not meeting radiation norms in their base tower stations in September 2012.[23] Aircel scaled down services in five circles leading to shutting down of cell sites which left many of its customers without coverage. Users had to travel to areas covered by Aircel in order to obtain a porting code.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Aircel" (PDF). Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Aircel: Banking on the Future". Voice & Data. 24 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Telecom Subscription data, June 2015" (PDF). TRAI. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "The Star - Business - Maxis owns 74% of Aircel". 29 August 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Apollo group, Prathap C. Reddy have no investment in Aircel". 
  6. ^ a b "Drop in India telecom subscriber base". 10 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Telecom Subscription data, June 2015" (PDF). TRAI. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c "Aicel: What the future holds". Light Reading India. 15 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "India’s 3G Auction Ends; Operator And Circle-Wise Results". Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Aircel cuts 3G tariffs in India". The Times Of India. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "• Aircel •". Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Pahwa, Nikhil (11 June 2010). "India's Broadband Wireless Auction Ends; Operator & Circlewise Results". Medianama (Delhi). Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Aircel launches 4G services in Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir". Times Of India. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "ZTE bags 4G contract from Aircel". The Hindu BusinessLine (Chennai). 30 December 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Aircel selects ZTE for 4G network rollout". The Times of India (Mumbai). 30 December 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Aircel launches First 4G Mobile Services in Bihar". IANS. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  17. ^ COAI Telecom Subscription Data - February 2015]
  18. ^ "Aircel to withdraw from 5 circles". Daily News and Analysis. 13 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Aircel to cut 600 jobs". Times of India. 13 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "Aicel: What the future holds (Page 3)". Light Reading India. 15 September 2012. 
  21. ^ "Maran-Maxis deal". Times of India. 27 July 2012. 
  22. ^ "Sistema to acquire Aircel?". Times of India. 14 September 2012. 
  23. ^ "Aircel gets DoT notice". Times of India. 14 September 2012. 
  24. ^ "Aircel network closed". Retrieved 21 May 2013. 

External links[edit]