Jan 28, 2022 - Economy & Business

Google investing $700 million in Indian telecom operator

A spotlight on the word Google

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is investing $700 million for a 1.28% stake in Bharti Airtel, India's second-largest mobile telco. It also is committing to invest another $300 million over five years, as part of strategic commercial partnerships.

Why it matters: The Silicon Valley giant is spreading its bets in the world's sixth-largest economy, having previously plugged $4.5 billion for a 7.7% stake in Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio Platforms. It also gives Airtel extra firepower for India's upcoming 5G spectrum auction, set for November.

The bottom line: "The funding from Google gives billionaire Sunil Mittal-led Bharti more firepower to bolster its 5G plans as well as take on [Jio's] rival telecom service which went from being a disruptive entrant in 2016 to the country's largest wireless provider within a few years by offering free calls and ultra-cheap data." — PR Sanjai, Bloomberg

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