Bharti Airtel has announced that Google will invest up to $1 billion as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund. The deal includes an infusion of $700 million via equity investment and $300 million towards potential multi-year commercial agreements.
Partnership with Airtel is aimed at enabling access to affordable smartphones, building use cases for 5G and other standards, and helping accelerate the cloud ecosystem for businesses across India.
As a part of its first commercial agreement, Airtel and Google will work together to build on a range of affordable Android-enabled devices in partnership with various device manufacturers.
Previously, Google has announced plans to launch 4G/5G handsets in partnership with Reliance Jio and build an Android-based smartphone OS for affordable devices. Reliance Jio was also expected to add a budget-friendly laptop to its low-cost bevvy of offerings, in partnership with Google.
The current partnership comes on the back of the network operator already using Google’s 5G-ready Evolved Packet Core & Software Defined Network platforms.
With the partnership aimed at furthering cloud capabilities in India, Airtel plans to explore scaling up the deployment of Google’s network virtualization solutions to deliver a superior network experience to its customers.