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Google partners with Airtel to offer cloud and genAI products to Indian businesses

Airtel, India’s second-largest telecom operator, said on Monday it has entered into a long-term partnership with Google Cloud to develop and deliver cloud and generative AI products to Indian businesses.

The partnership aims to tap Airtel’s extensive customer base, which, according to the company, includes 2,000 large enterprises and a million emerging businesses. The companies plan to offer AI solutions, including generative AI, which Airtel will train using its vast data sets.

As part of the collaboration, Airtel and Google Cloud will provide businesses with products like geospatial analytics, location intelligence for spotting trends, predictive capabilities, market assessment, site selection, risk management, and asset tracking. 

Also in the offing are voice analytics for conversational applications trained across languages, and marketing technology to forecast consumer behavior, perform audience segmentations, and streamline content creation with contextual ads. Airtel said it has set up a managed service center in Pune manned by more than 300 “experts” to provide support.

Tech behemoths Google, Microsoft and Amazon are increasingly setting their sights on the telecommunications industry, seeking to capitalize on the vast troves of data generated by the sector’s billions of customers worldwide. The three firms have signed deals with telecom operators globally, including in the U.S. and UK. The companies are also aggressively looking to sell their generative AI offerings to businesses across the world.

Google is already an investor in Airtel — it committed to investing up to $1 billion in the Indian carrier in 2022. The search giant has also backed Jio Platforms, which operates India’s largest carrier. Jio maintains a similar long-term partnership with Microsoft, too, as part of which the Indian carrier cross-sells Office 365 and Azure to local businesses.

Google and Airtel did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Google Cloud CEO, Thomas Kurian, described the partnership as “a significant milestone” towards the Android-maker’s commitment to accelerate cloud and AI adoption in India.

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