India's Reliance Jio Infocomm is likely to sign a contract worth $1.7 billion (roughly Rs. 14,016 crore) with Nokia this week to purchase 5G network equipment, the Economic Times reported on Thursday, citing people aware of the matter.
The contract could be signed as early as Thursday in Helsinki, Finland, where Nokia is headquartered, the report added. Jio and Nokia did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for a comment.
The telecom of arm of Reliance Industries snapped up airwaves worth $11 billion (roughly Rs. 90,600 crore) in a 5G spectrum auction last August and had launched 5G services in several cities. It is also working with Alphabet's Google to launch a budget 5G smartphone.
The Economic Times said that HSBC, JP Morgan and Citigroup are among those backing Jio's 5G-related purchases, while European export credit agency Finnvera will be issuing guarantees to the lenders to extend offshore loans to Jio.
Swedish telecommunication company Ericsson had in October last year, announced a partnership with Jio to build a 5G standalone network in India.
Earlier this week, Jio announced the launch of a 4G-feature phone in an attempt to reach those who have not yet migrated to smartphones, although analysts said the move was unlikely to disrupt the Indian telecom market. Back in August last year, Jio emerged as the biggest spender in India's $19 billion (roughly Rs. 1.5 lakh crore) 5G spectrum auction, with the top telco player winning airwaves worth $11 billion (roughly Rs. Rs. 87,000 crore).
In December 2022, Counterpoint Research said that India's 5G smartphone shipments will exceed that of 4G shipments by the end of 2023, driven by the mass adoption of the high-speed network and the rise in the sale of handsets in the lower-price bands.
5G data speed in India is expected to be about 10 times faster than that of 4G, with the network seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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