NEW DELHI (AP) — Google will invest up to $1 billion in partnership with India’s Airtel to bring affordable smartphone access to more than a billion Indians and accelerate the use of cloud computing to businesses, the two companies announced on Friday.
The investment will help small Indian businesses embrace digital tools as India strives to embrace digital education, payments and e-commerce amid the pandemic, Google said in a blog post.
Under the “Google for India Digitization Fund” launched in 2020, Google will pay $700 million to acquire a 1.28% stake in Airtel. It is also committing up to $300 million for business deals over the next five years, Airtel said in a statement.
The companies also plan to jointly develop software for 5G and other standards, he added.
Airtel is an Indian global communications solutions provider with over 480 million customers in 17 countries in South Asia and Africa.
Google services are accessible by more than 100 million users in India. It ran into legal trouble with India’s Competition Commission, which said the company abused its Android system’s dominant position in the smart TV market segment. Regulators argue that smart TV makers don’t have an alternative to Android and are therefore forced to install Google’s apps.
Google has denied any violations, saying its licensing practices comply with the law.
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