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Google to Invest up to $1 Billion in Indian Telco Airtel

Google has struck a partnership with Airtel that will see the US tech giant Google invest up to $1 Billion in the Indian telco. The partnership will help reinforce India’s telecom service expansion and narrow the digital divide.

The investment comes as part of the US company’s commitment to Google for India Digitization Fund that will involve a total of $10 billion investment in India, the world’s second-largest telecommunications market.

The pact was announced on 28th January and it includes Google’s equity and corpus investment in Indian companies over the next 5 years.

The partnership with Airtel means Google will invest $700 million and earn a 1.28% stake in the Indian operator. The deal also includes a potential $300 million in multi-year agreements.

Also read: Airtel reduces ISD call rate to Nepal

Google and Airtel partnership to solve problems of affordability, access, and digital inclusion

Their pact stresses providing an affordable ecosystem of services to Indian consumers and improving digital access.

“Together, they will work to bring best-in-class end-to-end products to serve customer needs, provide quality customer experience, and bring their expertise to solve problems of affordability, access, and digital inclusion,” they said in a statement.

Meanwhile, making affordable smartphones for Indian consumers is also on the cards. Especially, their collaboration will focus on India-specific network domain use cases for soon-launch 5G and other service standards. They will also be focusing on a sophisticated cloud ecosystem for Indian businesses.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, the 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.”

Related: CG Net Launching IPTV in Collaboration with Airtel

Why Does This Partnership Matter?

Google is the worlds’ leading tech giant. It is the owner of the world’s most popular smartphone OS, and the behemoth search engine itself. Meanwhile, Bharati Airtel is India’s largest operator with 300 million subscribers. And they perfectly complement each other. India has a total of 600 million internet users and this is likely to grow in quality with soon-to-launch 5G.

This large-scale investment will also help narrow the digital divide in India where telecom services are still unevenly distributed.

Meanwhile, The Google and Airtel partnership will create a complementary and synergistic effect and also aid India’s rapid digitization.  

Do two large entities work together to be the finest solution to improve a country’s broadband connectivity and mobile services? Should this replicate in more countries? Do share your opinions in the comments below.

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