International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, is looking to invest up to $25 million in broadband service provider Tikona Digital to support the company’s expansion plans in India.
This would contribute half of the $50 million investment that Tikona is looking at for immediate expansion project.
At present, Tikona provides services in 25 cities and is considering to scale up its footprint to tier-III and new urban and semi-urban markets that do not have access to broadband services.
“Tikona is also well poised to deploy 4G LTE network and provide coverage in rural tehsil towns in its five circles to homes, small and medium businesses, schools, health care centres, e-government kiosks, etc. The solution is also relevant to other global markets where the last-mile wire line plant is scantily built,” IFC said in a disclosure.
The proposed expansion would provide employment to over 350 qualified professional over the next five to six years and also create 20,000 indirect jobs in support and facilitation functions. Currently, Tikona offers enterprise connectivity services to about 1,500 small, medium and large enterprises.
Founded by a team of telecom professional led by chief executive Prakash Bajpai, Tikona counts investors like Everstone’s Indivision India Partners, Oak India Investments and L&T Infrastructure Finance, apart from Goldman Sachs Investment.
Tikona Digital had raised Rs 237.26 crore from the private investors in 2009.
The company currently has licence to use 20 MHz of spectrum in the 2.3 Ghz band in five circles—Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, (East) and Uttar Pradesh (West). This spectrum could potentially be used for rolling out 4G-LTE services for home and mobile data to address the rapidly growing broadband needs in the country.
Besides holding Category-A Internet Service Provider (ISP) licence, it has a National Long Distance (NLD) licence.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)