The Indian telco, Bharti Airtel, announced that Google was investing up to $1 billion into it through its Google for India Digitalisation Fund.
As part of the deal, an Airtel stake worth up to 1.28% will be acquired for $700 million and up to $300 million will go towards potential multi-year commercial agreements to bolster the telco’s digital offerings.
As part of a first commercial agreement, the two parties will build on Airtel’s range of Android-enabled consumer devices to remove barriers to owning a smartphone.
In addition, both companies intend to co-create Indian-specific 5G use cases and other standards based on their respective domain expertise. Similarly, Google is exploring scaling up the deployment of its network virtualisation solutions in India as part of its efforts to grow the cloud ecosystem.
Airtel and Google are working together to grow India’s digital dividend by creating innovative products. Thanks to our digital platforms, last mile distribution, and payment systems, we are looking forward to working closely with Google in order to boost India’s digital ecosystem, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, said on Friday.
Both companies have a long-standing relationship. In 2013, the two teamed up to offer free access to Google online products in India to Bharti Airtel customers. Under its Google for India Digitalisation Fund, Google further cemented its ties to India by investing $10 billion in the country’s digitalization over the next five to seven years.
In working together on a shared vision for expanding Internet access and ensuring equitable connectivity for more Indians, Airtel is shaping India’s digital future as a pioneer in the field, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.