Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Discussion : Future of Tikona

In the begining of August this year Tikona got nod from the Finance Ministry on the basis of the recommendations made by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), for the issuance of CCDs worth Rs 267 crore thereby increasing foreign equity to 76.73 per cent. It means Tikona can now attract FDI of Rs 267 crore. By the last week of August, Tikona has raised $171 million for import of capital goods, as reported.

Founded in 2008, Tikona is brain child of Prakash Bajpai who is founder, MD and CEO of the company. Tikona is funded by several private equity companies.

As per Wikipedia, the shareholder details of Tikona Digital Networks is as follows:
  • Goldman Sachs - 40% 
  • Oak Investment Partners - 20% 
  • Everstone Capital Advisors Ltd - 10%  
  • L&T Infrastructure Finance Company Limited - 4%
  • Tikona Trust - 26%
|<  Goldman Sachs has its shares in several cable and broadband related projects across the globe including Cequel and Marcus Cable (US), Diamond Cable (UK), e-Access (Japan), Kabel Deutschland (Germany), C&M (Korea), Cablecom (Switzerland) and Get (Norway). In 2013 they invested $110 million in cable firm DEN Networks to grab 18% of the company. 

Later in January 2015 Goldman Sachs picked up 4.8% stake in Raheja family promoted Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd. for Rs 52.6 crore. It was Goldman Sachs' second investion in India's cable and broadband space. In March 2015 they made the second round of investment in Hathway of Rs 21.4 crore taking the stake at 7.55%.   > |

Axiata Group Bhd, Malaysian telecom operator was in talks to buy a stake in Tikona in 2012. Axiata is present in India for long time, via its share in Idea Cellular. But the deal to buy out Goldman Sachs, Oak and Everstone's shares by Axiata did not happen.

At the end of 2015, there was market rumor that Vodafone may buy out Tikona's BWA spectrum on 2300MHz in all 5 circles. It's still not clear whether the deal will happen or not.

Tikona's Operational Details: 

Tikona (http://www.tikona.in/) won the-then-called BWA spectrum (2300MHz) in 5 circles - Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Himachal Pradesh in 2010. However Tikona is yet to launch 4G/LTE services in the country, while continues to provide MIMO based outdoor WiFi services. Tikona Digital's wireless broadband service is now present in more than 20 cities of the country.

In 2011 Tikona acquired HCL Infinet Ltd and rebranded it as Tikona Infinet (http://tikonainfinet.in/) as the enterprise services arm of TDN.

Metro - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata
Andra & Telengana - Vishakapatnam, Hyderabad
Gujarat - Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara
Karnataka - Bangalore
Maharastra - Nagpur, Pune
Tamilnadu - Chennai, Coimbatore
Madya Pradesh & Chattigarh - Indore, Bhopal, Raipur, Jabalpur
Rajasthan - Jaipur
UP East - Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi
UP West - Agra, Meerut

However as Tikona claims, it has launched 4G LTE in Varanasi on trial basis. Though plans and FAQ are indicating that it's may not be the exact LTE/4G. Tikona has it's seperate 4G website - http://tikona4g.in/ which does not help much to clear the cloud over Tikona's LTE services.

Whatever it is Tikona's LTE services is just limited to data services to home users.

My Take: 

At the end customer front nobody is happy with Tikona's service. With Jio's entry on 4G turf over 2300-1800-850MHz coverage Tikona will lose its customers for sure. Merger with Vodafone can be a good option, but Vodafone seems to be not interested in Tikona's services apart from the 2300MHz spectrum. Definitely Tikona is at a risk being a wireless broadband provider. Getting some foreign investments may not work for the company unless they come with a better plan and execute it.

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