American giant, Google has signed a deal with Airtel, which is India’s third-largest telecom operator as it looks to grow its cloud customer base in the Indian market which is slowly emerging as a cloud battleground for Microsoft and AWS.
The new partnership, according to Google, as part of the Telco’s ICT portfolio, enables Airtel to offer the G Suite to small and medium-sized businesses.
Airtel has around 320 million subscribers currently in India, and also serves 2,500 large businesses, 500,000 small and medium-sized businesses besides startups in the country.
The chief executive of Google Cloud, Thomas Kurian, in a statement said that the combination of G Suite’s tools with Airtel’s digital business offerings can help accelerate plenty of digital innovations for thousands of Indian businesses.
Reliance Jio, India’s largest telecom operator, had struck a similar deal with Microsoft, to sell cloud services to India’s small businesses and Google’s deal followed this. Jio and Microsoft announced a 10-year partnership in August 2019 to serve millions of customers.
According to research, nearly half a billion people in India have started coming online last decade. Even small businesses and individual merchants are starting to use storage services, digital tools and accept online payments. According to Nasscom’s report, the cloud market in India is estimated to be worth above $7 billion within the next three years. Hence, the three biggest players, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are locked in a battle in India to win cloud customers. They offer similar features and also give special deals like paying out a potential client’s remainder credit to the rival in order to convince them to switch.
All three companies have launched a range of tools and have conducted training in India to help mom-and-pop stores build their presence on the web. Only last week, Amazon announced it was investing $1 billion in India operations to help around 10 million merchants make their presence online.