The Indian operator is reportedly in discussions with financial services firm BNP Paribas to arrange the loans 

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecoms arm of India’s Reliance Industries, is set to raise $2 billion in offshore loans, according to a report from the Economic Times. The capital raised will be used to fund the purchase of 5G network equipment from Ericsson. 

“BNP Paribas will provide $1.9–2 billion over a nine-month period during the course of which Jio will be paying back Ericsson, BNP, and some other banks,” noted an anonymous source. 

As part of the deal, Swedish export credit firm EKN has provided Jio with a cover of $2.2 billion, protecting the deal’s stakeholders from potential risks. 

The report did not mention the specific amounts that Jio will pay back to Ericsson, BNP, and others involved in the loan deal. 

Jio announced they had partnered with Ericsson for 5G RAN equipment in October last year. 

“We are delighted to partner with Ericsson for Jio’s 5G SA rollout. Jio transformed the digital landscape in India with the launch of LTE services in 2016,” said Akash Ambani, Reliance Jio’s Chairman in a press release last year. 

“We are confident that Jio’s 5G network will accelerate India’s digitalization and will serve as the foundation for achieving our nation’s ‘Digital India’ vision.” 

It should be noted, that Jio is also working with two of Ericsson’s rivals, Nokia and Samsung, when it comes to 5G equipment. The company signed a $1.5 billion 5G equipment deal with Nokia earlier this year, which was financed by several global banks, including HSBC, Citigroup, and JP Morgan. More recently, Reliance Industries issued a letter of guarantee to Samsung India worth roughly $932 million, aiming to support Jio in the procurement of 5G equipment.   

Jio’s aim to achieve nationwide standalone 5G coverage by the end of the year, which Ambani claims will be the fastest ever mass 5G rollout anywhere in the world.  

Indeed, the company is already making rapid 5G progress, recently noting it had topped 50 million 5G subscribers just nine months after the service’s commercial launch. 

How is the 5G Standalone market evolving in 2023? Find out at this year’s Total Telecom Congress, live from Amsterdam, 21-22 November 2023  

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