Bhubaneswar: Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), one of India’s premier communications solutions providers, and Google today announced that they will partner on a long-term, multi-year agreement to 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.
As part of this partnership, Google intends to invest up to $1B, as 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 course of the next five years. This will comprise: 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.
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.
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.”