Report: An investment from Google in India’s Airtel could reach $1 billion

Google is set to collaborate with Bharti Airtel to accelerate the process of digital adoption among the masses. The aim is to provide "innovative affordability programs".


In an effort to make a $10 billion commitment to India, Google will invest as much as $1 billion in Airtel, the second-largest wireless provider in the world. In addition, Google will invest up to $300 million more to explore multi-year commercial agreements with Airtel.

The two companies said they would partner to extend Airtel’s Android-based offerings to consumers through “innovative affordability programs.” They will explore partnering with smartphone makers to come up with more affordable phones.

In a statement, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, said that Airtel is a pioneer shaping India’s digital future. “We are proud to partner with Airtel and achieve our common goal of ensuring more Indians have equitable access to the Internet,” he said. “We are investing in Airtel as part of our Google for India Digitization Fund’s efforts to support new business models, increase access to smartphones, and support businesses on their journey to digital transformation.” A few days ago, Airtel and Vodafone announced that they were restructuring their debts to the Indian government, forcing them to scramble for payment methods.

A few weeks ago, Vodafone gave the Indian government an increase in its ownership to over 35%. There is a big fight between Vodafone, Airtel and Jio Platforms, the creation of Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. Thanks to its affordable voice and data services, Jio Platforms has accumulated more than 400 million subscribers in India. Its revenue in 2020 is expected to be $4.5 billion. The Ambani-controlled firm has been backed by Facebook and nearly a dozen other companies.

In addition to the custom Android smartphone that Jio Platforms and Google were collaborating to create, they announced that it will be aimed at the masses. Analysts have suggested that the device, whose launch was delayed once, is somewhat too expensive to be affordable by most people. Pichai stated at an event in India that some markets, such as India, need phones for $30 to see mass adoption, whereas the JioPhone costs about $87. As part of its “larger strategic goals” on Friday, Airtel said it would explore “possible” co-creation of India-specific use cases of 5G and other standards with Google.

Pichai stated at an event in india that some markets, such as india, need phones for $30 to see mass adoption, whereas the jiophone costs about $87

As part of their collaboration, they intend to “shape and grow” the Indian cloud ecosystem. In an announcement on Friday, Airtel said its enterprise technology will “help accelerate digital adoption” for over 1 million small and medium-sized businesses. Bringing innovative products to India is the ultimate goal of Airtel and Google. We are excited about the prospect of collaborating with Google to enhance the depth and breadth of India’s digital ecosystem with our future-ready network, digital platforms, last-mile distribution, and payments ecosystem,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel. It is one of the last great growth markets for American technology companies, with over 600 million internet users – and about as many still to come online. Tens of millions of Indians were connected to the internet through programs conducted by Google and Facebook in the past decade.

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