Reliance Jio secures $2 billion 5G loan


The loan will be used to help Jio purchase 5G equipment from Nokia, with the Indian operator racing to deploy the new technology  

India’s leading telecoms operator Reliance Jio has secured a loan of almost $2 billion to find its purchase of 5G equipment from Nokia. 

Reportedly arranged by HSBC, the loan is one the country’s biggest offshore loans for the 2024 financial year. The deal with Nokia was secured in October last year.

“The deal was concluded recently after talks over the past couple of months with HSBC as lead arranger… the loan quantum is around $1.5–2 billion, and it is structured in a way that carries with it an implied rate of interest arrived over the tenure of the loan,” reported the Economic Times. 

Reliance Jio has ambitious plans for its 5G deployment. During the firm’s Annual General Meeting in August this year, Chairman Mukesh Ambani promised to achieve nationwide standalone 5G coverage by the end of the year. If achieved, Ambani claims the 5G rollout will have been the fastest anywhere in the world. 

“With this massive reach and capacity, here is our promise: We know that every home, small and medium businesses, factories, schools, and hospitals across India would like to have 5G. From December this year, we will be able to promptly fulfil each and every demand for Jio 5G broadband connection across the country,” he said.  

Alongside Nokia, Jio is also working Ericsson and Samsung for 5G equipment. In September of this year, the Jio announced the arrangement of a similar $2 billion offshore loan to fund the purchase of 5G equipment from Ericsson, arranged by BNP-Paribas. 

Thanks to this huge investment, Jio is already making impressive progress with its rollout, having recently passed 50 million 5G subscribers. Jio also claims that it operates 85% of the country’s operational 5G cell sites. 

However, Jio is not the only operator making swift progress when it comes to 5G. Bharti Airtel, Jio’s main rival, said this weekend that it had also passed the 50 million 5G subscriber market. 

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

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