Jio Financial unit to buy $4.32B of telecom gear from Reliance Retail

Jio Leasing Services Ltd (JLSL), a subsidiary of Jio Financial Services, plans to buy customer premises equipment, devices and telecom equipment worth $4.32 billion from Reliance Retail over the next two financial years, according to a postal ballot notice (PDF) sent to shareholders seeking approval of the deal.

JLSL is entering the business of operating a Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) model — it will lease telecom devices along with associated services to customers of Reliance Jio Infocomm. Reliance Retail, valued at about $100 billion Reliance Industries in 2023, will sell the devices to JLSL at cost plus margin.

The deal will be one of the largest equipment transactions in the Indian telecom sector. By shifting to a leasing model through JLSL, Jio aims to make it more affordable for customers to get access to the latest 5G devices and attract more subscribers to its network.

The transaction will be spread over the financial years ending March 2025 and March 2026.

Jio Financial Services was a little-known, non-bank financial subsidiary of Reliance Industries until the conglomerate demerged the unit and listed it last year. Reliance still owns more than 80% of the company.

Jio Financial Services also plans to offer its payment aggregator and gateway services to Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail, according to the notice.

The deal signifies Jio Financial Services' growing interest in businesses beyond lending. Via the DaaS model, the company is planning to lease devices like laptops and its mobile hotspot AirFiber to businesses.