Investment to boost 5G, small businesses in India
New Delhi, Feb. 1 (Delhi Crown): Google will invest up to one billion U.S. dollars in Bharti Airtel as part of its “Google for India Digitization Fund”. The partnership comprises a $700 million (Rs. 5,224.4 crores) equity investment in Bharti Airtel at a price per share of Rs. 734, say industry insiders
Besides, another $300 million will be used over the next five years on multiple commercial agreements, which will include Airtel’s plans to make smartphones more affordable to empower almost 350 million feature phone users in India.
The partnership aims to achieve this through innovative affordability programs that will accelerate digital inclusion across India.
Experts state that this will allow telecompanies like Airtel to drive up 4G data usage and revenue, especially at this crucial point where it is gearing for 5G auctions by mid-2022 and subsequent 5G network rollouts.
According to sources, Airtel has already conducted live 5G tests across cities, like Hyderabad and Kolkata, and collaborated with several tech companies like Intel, Qualcomm, etc., on the 5G front.
Airtel’s association with Google is set to strengthen its position as a telecom stalwart in the country and help further its efforts towards 5G adoption, believe the experts.
Talking about the partnership, Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal 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.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, “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.”