Google is considering acquiring a 5 per cent stake in struggling joint venture Vodafone Idea, a move that would step up competition with rival Facebook in India’s fast-growing mobile market, Financial Times (FT) reported.

According to FT sources, Google is looking to capitalise on Vodafone Idea’s financial struggles, which have been triggered after regulators in the country ordered operators to pay adjusted gross revenue dues late last year.

Vodafone Group, which owns the joint venture with Aditya Birla Group, has previously warned the business faces a struggle to survive as a result of the government dues, arguing it needs financial relief to stay operating.

Indeed, while a cash injection would be welcome for the operator, it would also give Google a bigger foothold in India, following in the footsteps of rival Facebook.

Last month, Facebook acquired a 9.99 per cent stake in Reliance Jio Platforms, investing $5.7 billion, which was followed by other US-based investments in the operator from private equity companies.

FT noted Google had also held talks about a potential investment in Jio, with discussion still ongoing.

Google has pushed its operations in India in recent years through its Android operating system, which has seen traction as the country’s mobile penetration continues to grow.

It has also introduced mobile payments services in the market, in an increasingly crowded sector.