Alka Selot Asthana: Chief Technology Officer, Bharti Infratel

Chief Technology Officer, Bharti Infratel

Currently the chief technology officer of Bharti Infratel, Alka Selot Asthana joined the Indian Telecom Service in 1993. In 1996, she joined a team responsible for installing and commissioning the first Siemens EWSD TAX Exchange in Ahmedabad. After this, she supervised the installation of optical fibre in Gujarat in 1997.

In 2003, Asthana went on to join Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). During her stint with the company, she was actively involved in various projects. From handling the staff unrest arising from the smart automation of customer care services to managing the landline network and ensuring regulatory compliance, she has been at the forefront. Asthana has also played a key role in arresting the alarming losses in MTNL Delhi’s CDMA network and contributed to installing and commissioning of the very first 3G GSM network pan-India in 2008.

In 2013, she was appointed as director, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, where she was in charge of complex schemes and projects across the country. This deputation has provided Asthana with the experience to spearhead national-level schemes and given her insights into the complexities of India’s social fabric, national polity and local nuances. Post this, she transitioned to the private sector by joining Bharti Infratel. This transition opened a plethora of opportunities for Asthana and has provided a conducive environment to evaluate and implement technology solutions. Currently, she is actively involved in implementing the Bhopal smart city project.

With over two decades of experience in telecom, Asthana has seen sweeping changes in the sector’s landscape. Besides, she has gained a wide experience in mobile technology  including GSM, CDMA and Wi-Fi, landline intra-city and long distance, IT and internet of things and smart cities.  According to her, in terms of industry trends, the subscriber is getting more demanding, especially in terms of data rates.

Asthana is a team player, makes friends with colleagues easily and believes in giving people the chance to contribute by encouraging them to speak through extensive discussions.

Asthana is married to Sharad and they have two children Ishaan and Ananya. She attributes her success to her parents. In her free time, Asthana writes a blog and poems. Several of her poems were recently published in an anthology by K.G. Publications.