Satya N. Gupta has spent over 38 years in the telecom industry, executing projects and creating and managing telecom entities. The most notable entity created under his leadership was Ircon Telenet Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture (JV) between Indian Railways and British Telecom. Later converted into a PSU by the Ministry of Railways, the JV is today known as RailTel Corporation of India. During his career, he has been associated with corporations such as 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. He is associated with the International Telecommunication Union as NGN expert and with the Commonwealth Telecom Organisation as NGN trainer. Despite working in key roles in leading organisations, Gupta believes that his most exciting professional phase began only three years ago when he joined a start-up. The profile involved setting up 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 part of the country. It set up Wi-Fi 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, 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 I am trying to practise a work-life blend,” he says. Gupta has triple master’s degrees in electronics design technology (from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru), IT management, and telecom policy and regulation. 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.”