Search engine giant and ad corporation Google will reportedly pump USD 700 million into Airtel India in an investment plan that will also see Google acquire a 1.28 percent stake in the carrier.
Airtel is India’s second-largest telco. Airtel serves other markets around the world too, including in Africa where it is present in 14 countries, mainly in East, Central, and West Africa.
Airtel India has more than 300 million customers. Google will at first inject USD 300 million into the project as it looks into exploring a multi-year commercial agreement with Airtel.
The overall investment could go up to USD 1 billion.
One of the deals that the two companies will work on is bringing innovative and affordable programs into the country, where customers will be able to access Android-powered devices at a low cost.
The second plan is to work with phone makers to address the affordability issue. The goal is to ensure that subscribers can buy an Android phone by not hurting their pockets. These are bold strides because India comes second in the world in terms of internet consumption. Most of the internet traffic passes through phones.
We have seen such partnerships in Kenya too, where Google has worked with Safaricom to offer low-cost smartphones to consumers under the Neon and Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Program.
India is an interesting country too when it comes to smartphone use cases. Many phone makers target the country because of the numbers and usually adjust their pricing downwards to appeal to local consumers. It should also be remembered that the nation is growing and is yet to achieve developed standards.
“Airtel is a leading pioneer shaping India’s digital future, and we are proud to partner on a shared vision for expanding connectivity and ensuring equitable access to the Internet for more Indians,” said Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google and Alphabet, and also an Indian native.
Other larger strategic goals are also in two: according to Tech Crunch, the two companies seek to create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G, and plan to shape and grow the cloud ecosystem.