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Google invests $1bn in Bharti Airtel

February 2, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Google says it is to invest up to $1 billion in India’s Bharti Airtel as part of its ‘Google for India’ digitisation fund.

The Google/Bharti deal includes investment of $700 million to acquire 1.28 per cent ownership in Airtel and up to $300 million toward potential multi-year commercial agreements.

The agreement is a multi-year, long-term deal which will “accelerate the growth of India’s digital ecosystem. 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,” says the joint statement.

The agreement is subject to regulatory approval.

“The two organisations recognise the importance of a connected India, in empowering businesses as they progress on their Digital Transformation journeys, and building a strong digital ecosystem for consumers everywhere. Both organizations are committed to working towards building an open technology ecosystem that serves customers and businesses with innovative digital services, and have agreed to jointly explore and invest across a wide spectrum of areas to create digital solutions that uniquely serve India’s requirements,” said a joint statement.

“As a part of its first commercial agreement, Airtel and Google will work together to build on Airtel’s extensive offerings that covers a range of Android-enabled devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs. Together, the 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,” added the pair.

“Under the larger strategic goals of the partnership, both companies will also potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, with cutting-edge implementations. Airtel is already using Google’s 5G-ready Evolved Packet Core & Software Defined Network platforms, and plans to explore scaling up the deployment of Google’s network virtualisation solutions to deliver a superior network experience to their customers,” concluded the businesses.

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