Google to invest $1 billion in a partnership with Airtel to enable affordable smartphones and 5G.
- As part of its Google for India Digitization Fund, Google will invest up to $1 billion in a partnership with Airtel.
- The deal comprises a $700 million investment in Airtel for a 1.28 percent * stake, as well as up to $300 million in prospective multi-year commercial agreements.
- The partnership will focus on enabling affordable smartphone access across price ranges and will continue to explore expanding on their existing partnerships to potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, as well as help businesses across India, accelerate their cloud ecosystem.
New Delhi, 28th January 2022 – Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), one of India’s leading communications solutions providers, and Google today announced a long-term, multi-year partnership to help India’s digital ecosystem grow faster. Together, they’ll develop best-in-class end-to-end products to meet consumer needs, deliver a positive customer experience, and apply their expertise to problems like affordability, accessibility, and digital inclusion.
Google plans to contribute up to $1 billion as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund, which will comprise both equity and a corpus for future commercial deals that will be found and settled on mutually agreeable terms over the next five years. This will include:
- A $700M equity investment in Bharti Airtel at a price per share of INR 734.
- Up to $300M that 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.
This deal will be subject to necessary regulatory approvals.
The two organizations understand the value of a connected India in empowering businesses as they embark on their Digital Transformation journeys and creating a strong digital environment for consumers worldwide. Both organizations are committed to working toward the creation of an open technology ecosystem that provides customers and businesses with innovative digital services, and they have agreed to jointly explore and invest in a wide range of areas in order to develop digital solutions that are specifically tailored to India’s needs.
Airtel and Google will collaborate to expand on Airtel’s vast portfolio of Android-enabled devices to consumers through creative affordability schemes as part of their first commercial deal. In collaboration with other device manufacturers, the companies will continue to look for new ways to lower the barriers to owning a smartphone across a range of price points.
Both firms may co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, including cutting-edge implementations, as part of the partnership’s bigger strategic ambitions. Airtel is already employing Google’s 5G-ready Evolved Packet Core and Software Defined Network platforms, and it wants to expand its use of Google’s network virtualization solutions to provide a better network experience to its consumers.
To speed their digital transformation journeys, both organizations will focus on shaping and growing the cloud ecosystem in India. With its enterprise connection offering, Airtel serves over one million small and medium companies, and this cooperation will assist promote digital adoption.
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.”
“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, CEO of Google and 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.”
*1.20% shareholding including partly paid shares
Headquartered in India, Airtel is a global communications solutions provider with over 480 Mn customers in 17 countries across South Asia and Africa. The company ranks amongst the top three mobile operators globally and its networks cover over two billion people. Airtel is India’s largest integrated communications solutions provider and the second-largest mobile operator in Africa. Airtel’s retail portfolio includes high-speed 4G/4.5G mobile broadband, Airtel Xstream Fiber that promises speeds up to 1 Gbps with convergence across linear and on-demand entertainment, streaming services spanning music and video, digital payments, and financial services. For enterprise customers, Airtel offers a gamut of solutions that includes secure connectivity, cloud and data center services, cyber security, IoT, Ad Tech, and cloud-based communication. For more details visit www.airtel.com