Telecom firm Bharti Airtel on Friday said that it is entering into an agreement with internet giant Google to accelerate the growth of the country’s digital ecosystem.
Under the long-term, multi-year agreement, Google will invest up to $1 billion, or Rs 7,491.43 crore in the telecom company.
From the total amount, the Google will make a Rs 5,246.32-crore equity investment in Airtel at a price of Rs 734 per share. The remaining amount will be invested in scaling up the telecom firm’s plans to offer affordable services and increasing digital inclusion.
“The partnership will focus on enabling affordable access to smartphones across price ranges, and will continue to explore building on their existing partnerships to potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, and help accelerate the cloud ecosystem for businesses across India,” Airtel said in a statement.
Network domains are groups of users or devices that share different types of data.
Airtel is already using Google’s 5G-ready platforms, the Economic Times reported.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Airtel, said that the two companies “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,” he said.
Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said that its investment in Airtel was an effort to increase the access to smartphones, increase connectivity to support new business models and help firms in their digital transformations. These new measures are being executed under the company’s India Digitization Fund.
In July 2020, Google announced an investment of Rs 33,737 crore to buy a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms, Reliance Industries’ digital arm.
“Proud to partner with Reliance Jio to increase access for the hundreds of millions in India who do not own a smartphone with our first investment of $4.5 billion from the Google for India digitization fund,” Pichai had said at the time.