Google to push India’s digital ecosystem through $1bn investment in Airtel
Google will partner Bharti Airtel, one of India’s leading communications solutions providers, to invest around $1 billion (up to INR 7,400 crores) over the next five years, to drive India’s digital ecosystem.
The deal, which is part of $10 billion Google for India Digitization Fund, will enable the internet giant to acquire 1.28% ownership in Airtel with an investment of $700 million and earmark up to $300 million towards potential multi-year commercial agreements, which will include investments in scaling Airtel’s offerings.
The partnership will help push the cloud ecosystem for Indian businesses by co-creating India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, said Airtel.
The long-term and multi-year partnership also aims to solve the problems of affordable access to smartphones across price ranges, apart from digital inclusion issues.
Sundar Pichai — CEO of Google and Alphabet said: “Our commercial and equity investment in Airtel is a continuation of our Google for India Digitization Fund’s efforts to increase access to smartphones, enhance connectivity to support new business models, and help companies on their digital transformation journey.”
As part of the agreement, both Airtel and Google will also bring new products to cater to customer needs and provide quality customer experience.
Sunil Bharti Mittal — Chairman of Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel and Google share the vision to grow India’s digital dividend through innovative products.
“With our future ready network, digital platforms, last mile distribution and payments ecosystem, we look forward to working closely with Google to increase the depth and breadth of India’s digital ecosystem.”
The deal is subject to necessary regulatory approvals.
Google’s other significant investment in India is the $4.5 billion it spent on Jio Platforms, the digital services platform of Reliance Industries.