On Friday, Google and Airtel said in a joint statement that the former is going to invest up to $1 billion in the latter. Against the first $700 million, Google will get an equity stake of 1.28% in the telco, subject to regulatory approvals. A quick thought must have popped into the minds of everyone aware about the Google and Jio deal that this partnership with Airtel might bring conflict of interest into play.
But Gopal Vittal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bharti Airtel, has cleared the air by confirming that there’s no conflict of interest in this deal with Google.
Airtel Not Interested in Manufacturing Low-Cost Smartphones Like Jio
The deal between Jio and Google is sort of different from that of between Google and Airtel. Vittal said that Airtel is looking to make handsets available in the market more affordable for the masses and isn’t interested in manufacturing its own low-cost device. Airtel is rather interested in offering subsidies with smartphones to make its cost lower for the end-user.
Vittal also said that there’s no element of “exclusivity” in the deal, reports ET Telecom. The Airtel CEO said that this partnership between both the companies has come alive on the basis of common shared objectives and vision.
Google will give Bharti Airtel $300 million and form multi-year commercial agreements with the telco. Airtel has also signed a cloud services deal with Google. It is worth noting that Airtel has already partnered with multiple smartphone manufacturers and is offering subsidies on more than a hundred 4G smartphones.
Both Airtel and Jio have been trying to push users to upgrade from feature phones to 4G devices. While Jio came out with a low-cost smartphone called JioPhone with Google, Airtel is only looking to partner with the smartphone manufacturers and bring the cost of the devices down by offering subsidies to the consumers.