Google plans to acquire a 7.7 percent stake in India's biggest telco company, Jio Platforms, for $4.5bn.
The holding company of Reliance Jio Infocomm announced the investment during its live-streamed Reliance AGM 2020 and the country manager and VP of Google India, Sanjay Gupta, covered the investment on Google's blog. The investment is now pending a regulatory review.
The move follows Google's $10bn Indian investment pledge this week, set to happen over the next five to seven years. It is not clear if this investment is part of that promise.
According to Gupta, the agreement also means the company will work with Jio to make a new and cheap Android smartphone.
Gupta said: "Together we are excited to rethink, from the ground up, how millions of users in India can become owners of smartphones.
"This effort will unlock new opportunities, further power the vibrant ecosystem of applications, and push innovation to drive growth for the new Indian economy.
"This partnership comes at an exciting but critical stage in India’s digitization. It’s been amazing to see the changes in technology and network plans that have enabled more than half a billion Indians to get online.
"At the same time, the majority of people in India still don’t have access to the Internet, and fewer still own a smartphone - so there’s much more work ahead."
This is all part of 'Digital India' a campaign launched by the Indian Government to get the whole of the country online.
In April, Facebook acquired a 9.99 percent equity stake in Jio Platforms. The $5.7bn deal allows the social media and advertising company to develop its foothold in India and represents one of the largest investments for a minority stake in a tech firm globally. Including Google and Facebook's investment, Jio has raised around $20bn since April from Qualcomm, Intel, KKR, Silver Lake, Vista, and Mubadala, Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund.
Launched in September 2016, Jio quickly gained more than 388 million users by offering low data prices - but that strategy left the company in debt and in need of investment. Microsoft in 2019 announced a major partnership with the company to build data centers across the country.