bharti: Google-Airtel partnership will help co-create India-specific use cases for 5G: Telecom analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial Services

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Google will invest as much as $ 1 billion in India’s second-largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel. Google will pay $700 million (Rs 734 per share) for a 1.28 per cent stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd and the rest towards multi-year plans that will include devices.
“The partnership will focus on one, enabling affordable access to smartphones across price ranges to Airtel customers; two, co-create India-specific use cases for 5G; and three, accelerate the cloud ecosystem for enterprises particularly the small and medium enterprises (SME) across India,” says Aliasgar Shakir, telecom analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.
He adds, “Bharti could leverage Google’s tech platform to explore monetization of digital offerings. It could a.) leverage the opportunity of a large pool (>300m) of feature phone subscribers in the market through Google-enabled affordable devices., b.) It could leverage Google’s 5G technology solutions to offer use cases to SMEs/consumers including cloud services. Over time it can drive big value through new areas of growth Bharti Airtel. From Google’s point of view, certainly, it is seeing the advantage of tying up with a large telecom provider to create front end solutions,” added
This will be the second investment by Google, which had two years ago committed to investing $10 billion in India via its digitisation fund over 5 to 7 years through equity deals and tie-up. In July 2020, Google invested $4.5 billion for a 7.73 per cent stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms.
Bharti Airtel board has approved the issuance of up to 71,176,839 equity shares of face value of Rs 5 each of the company to Google International LLC on a preferential basis at a price of Rs 734 per equity share aggregating to Rs 5,224.3 crore (around USD 700 million).
“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,” Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said in the statement.

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