Google to invest up to $1B in a partnership with Airtel to help grow India’s digital ecosystem

US-based technology giant Google and Bharti Mittal-founded telecom company Airtel today announced they will partner on a long-term, multi-year agreement to accelerate the growth of India’s digital ecosystem. 

With this, Both the companies 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, the statement said.

As part of this partnership, Google will invest $700 million to acquire a 1.28%* stake in Airtel and up to $300 million towards potential multi-year commercial agreements. The investment from Google is part of its Google For India Digitization Fund, which includes equity investment as well as a corpus for potential commercial agreements, to be identified and agreed on mutually agreeable terms over the next five years.

According to the company’s statement, The investment of up to $300 million will go towards implementing commercial agreements, which will include investments in scaling Airtel’s offerings that covers a range of devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs as well as other offerings aimed at accelerating access and digital inclusion across India’s digital ecosystem.

The US-based technology company will be acquiring stakes at Rs 734 per share and the deal will be subject to necessary regulatory approvals.

Through this partnership, Both companies will continue to explore further opportunities to bring down the barriers of owning a smartphone across a range of price points, in partnership with various device manufacturers.

Apart from this, They will also potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, with cutting-edge implementations.

Additionally, Both companies will also focus on shaping and growing the cloud ecosystem in India to accelerate their digital transformation journeys. At present, Airtel serves over one million small and medium businesses with its enterprise connectivity offering, and this partnership will help accelerate digital adoption.

Speaking on the association, Sunil Bharti Mittal, 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.”

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google & Alphabet. “Our commercial and equity investment in Airtel is a continuation of our Google for India Digitization Fund’s efforts to increase access to smartphones, enhance connectivity to support new business models, and help companies on their digital transformation journey.”

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