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India's largest operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm, is reportedly raising up to US$2 billion in offshore loans with BNP Paribas as the lead arranger. The funds will be used to purchase 5G network equipment from Ericsson. BNP Paribas will provide US$1.9-2 billion over a nine-month period, with support from Swedish export credit agency EKN.

This loan is significant considering that the monetization of 5G services is still a year away and there are uncertainties regarding the availability of devices and revenue-earning use cases. Additionally, there is a risk of rupee depreciation against the US dollar.

Jio plans to invest around US$25 billion in 5G, with US$11 billion already spent on spectrum. It aims to achieve pan-India 5G coverage by December and become the largest 5G SA-only network operator in the world by the second half of 2023. In contrast, Bharti Airtel is using non-standalone technology for its 5G rollout in India.

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