Why is big tech flirting with Indian telcos?

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This article (published in a leading Indian business newspaper “Business Standard” on 28 June 2020) focusses on the sudden fascination of big tech companies for the debt laden Indian telecom companies and analyses the opportunities and threats associated with such big tech – telco collaborations. In 2020, Facebook’s investment of around 5.7 billion dollars in the largest Indian telecom company (Reliance Jio) stirred the Indian telecom market with murmurs of other big technology companies’ plans of investing in leading telcos. This then led to an investment of around USD 4.5 billion in Reliance Jio by Google. With the limitations of the existing competition rules to deal with digital markets and the absence of a data protection authority in India, it is critical for the Competition Commission of India to get out of its comfort zone and deal with the data concerns head-on.