Satya Narain Gupta
Chairman, India and BIMSTEC, BLUETOWN

A telecom veteran, Satya N. Gupta has spent over 38 years in the telecom industry, executing tele­­­com projects and creating and managing telecom entities. The most not­a­ble entity created under his le­adership was a JV between In­dian Railways and British Te­l­ecom, called Ircon Telenet Pvt. Ltd.  This was later converted into a PSU by the Ministry of Railways, which is today kno­wn as RailTel Cor­poration of India. During his career, he has been associated with corporations like Ircon Interna­tional, BT Global Ser­vices and St­er­l­ite Tech. He has also worked with TRAI as principal adviser. Gupta has in-depth knowledge of next-generation network (NGN) technology and is ass­o­ciated with the Inter­na­ti­o­nal Telecommu­ni­­cation Union as an NGN ex­pert and with the Common­we­alth Tele­com Or­ganisation as an NGN trai­ner. Despite wo­r­king in key roles across leading organisations, Gupta believes that his most exciting professional ph­a­se be­gan only three years ago when he took up an executive role in a start-up. This in­vo­l­v­ed forming an Indian entity for a Da­n­ish st­a­rt-up, BLUETO­WN, ad­v­o­­­­c­a­ting th­eir hot­sp­ot-as-a-ma­n­a­g­ed-service business mo­del, pr­ovi­d­ing broadband ac­c­ess in remote ar­eas on a revenue-sha­ring ba­sis, and heading its ope­rations to make it financially sustainable. “The mo­st att­ra­ct­ive part of this job was having complete freedom to run the business,” he says.

BLUETOWN has partnered with BSNL to build, op­e­rate and maintain Wi-Fi hot­spots in the eastern parts of the country. It set up Wi-Fi-ena­b­led hotspots in 1,000 villages during 2017 and intends to co­n­n­ect another 5,000 villages in each of the next two ye­ars. As chairman, India and BIMSTEC, BLUETOWN, Gupta is responsible for forging str­a­tegic partnerships in India and BIMSTEC co­un­tri­es, and exp­loring new ma­­r­­kets to Connect the Unconnected.

In terms of management style, Gupta believes in delegating work. He considers his ability to execute projects as his big­g­est strength. “I don’t be­lieve in a work-life balance, but am tr­ying to practise a work-life blend,” he says. Gup­ta has tr­i­ple master’s deg­r­ees in electro­nics design technology, IT ma­nagement, and telecom policy and regulation, the first one fr­om the Indian Institute of Sci­ence, Be­n­ga­lu­ru. He is a vo­rac­ious rea­der and has a flair for writing, spe­aking and prof­es­s­ional networking. His family comprises his wife, Madhu, who is a hom­e­­maker, and their two sons. “My elder son works for a US mul­tinational corporation in Chi­n­a. The yo­unger one is working in Mu­mbai.”