Google is going to invest over $1 billion in Bharti Airtel as part of its Google for India Digitisation Fund. It is a long-term and multi-year deal where Airtel and Google will work together to explore and co-create India specific use-cases of 5G along with other standards and also work towards the acceleration of cloud ecosystem for businesses across India.
Bharti Airtel is also going to give an equity stake to Google against the investment.
Google to Get Equity in Airtel for the First $700 Million
The companies, in a joint statement, announced that Google would get an equity stake of 1.28% in Airtel for an investment of $700 million, and the remaining $300 million will go towards potential multi-year agreements.
The multi-year agreements will include things such as the range of devices that are offered to the customers and more to accelerate India’s digital ecosystem. Note that the deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
The companies said that as part of the first commercial agreement, they would work together on Airtel’s extensive offerings, which include a range of Android-enabled devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs.
From the impressions and statements of the deal, Google and Airtel will work together to bring down barriers to owning a smartphone for users across a range of price points in partnership with several device manufacturers. Thus, unlike Jio, Airtel and Google might not be working on developing a smartphone together, or are they?
Google is already invested in Jio, and with investing in Airtel, the search-engine giant will have equity in two top private telecom companies in India.
Google and Airtel partnership will be focused on bringing best-in-class end-to-end products for improving and service customer needs and accelerating the goal of digital India. As mentioned above, the regulatory approvals are yet to arrive. It will be interesting to see how Airtel and Google actually work together and what changes this deal could bring for the companies and the consumers.