Tikona Digital shuts down broadband operations in 13 of 38 cities

Telecom Lead India: Tikona Digital Networks has shut down broadband operations in 13 of 38 cities to consolidate coverage.

In fact, Tikona Digital aims at launching LTE / 4G services in the second half of 2013 in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (east and west) and Himachal Pradesh, where it secured BWA spectrum for Rs 1,058 crore in 2010.

According to a top official with a telecom equipment vendor, companies like Tikona Digital will struggle to launch 4G and ensure 100 percent quality of service because Tikona Digital does not have a strong optical network backbone to support 4G demands from customers.

Though it won the BWA license in 2010, Tikona could not launch 4G.

Bharti Airtel has become the first Indian operator to introduce 4G on TD-LTE technology in 3 circles — Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune.

The Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries’ Infotel Broadband is also looking at optical backbone to strengthen its offerings. During this time, operators such as Bharti Airtel and Aircel (which is planning 4G launch in H1 of 2012), can leverage their existing network for their LTE push.

Industry sources say Tikona is struggling to mobilize funds for its 4G launch.

Tikona will expand broadband coverage and capacity in the top six metros and 19 Tier-I cities. This is likely to enable Tikona to become the leading broadband operator in the top 25 markets of the country in respect of coverage, capacity and share of new additions, Economic Times reported.

Its Wi-Fi broadband network covers the top 25 cities of India, most of which are outside these five 4G circles. When it offers 4G, it will simultaneously offer Wi-Fi services that are broadcast on free-to-air spectrum but have a shorter serviceable range.

The ARPU levels of broadband continue to rise in contrast to constantly falling ARPUs in voice. The supply side (for data) is far less crowded than in voice, thereby giving the early movers like Tikona an advantage to make inroads in the data markets.

Goldman Sachs, Oak Investment Partners and Everstone Capital Advisors together hold 70 percent stake in Tikona.

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