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News Digest: STAR-Balaji; Tata Teleservices; Tikona; RCOM

STAR Renews Efforts To Sell Stake In Balaji; Reliance BIG Entertainment Denies

VCCircle reported yesterday, quoting sources, that STAR India has revived plans to sell its stake in Balaji Telefilms, and Reliance Entertainment is the front runner for acquiring stake in the company; Reliance Entertainment President Rajesh Sawhney told MediaNama via SMS yesterday that this is ‘not true’. STAR owns 26% in Balaji Telefilms. The VCCircle story now suggests that the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is the front-runner, and it might be Reliance MediaWorks (AdLabs) that is in talks.

Tata Teleservices Crosses 70 million Connections Mark

Tata Teleservices, which operates mobile services as Tata Indicom (CDMA), Tata Docomo (GSM) and Virgin Mobile (CDMA GSM) has crossed the 70 million connections mark, as of end May 2010, adding 2.33 million new connections in May. Their subscriber base has grown by over 100% in the last 12 months, from 35 million in May 2009. They did shake up the market, with offerings like pay-per-second, buddynet (closed group of users), and extensive (bordering on excessive) marketing.

Tikona To Expand Broadband Coverage to 100 Cities

BusinessLine reports that Tikona Digital, which won Broadband Wireless Access spectrum in 5 circles (Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh) plans to expand broadband coverage to 100 cities, and target the enterprise segment.

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The company, however, has not disclosed whether it will use LTE for services, or WiMAX. The show of confidence in LTE appears is being seen as a big win for Qualcomm, which has itself won spectrum and plans to rope in an Indian partner, as opposed to Intel supported WiMAX. So will Tikona’s spectrum be essentially used for Fixed WiMAX services? Only Infotel has pan-India high speed broadband spectrum.

RCOM Approves Reliance Infratel Restructuring

Following overtures to Reliance Industries on infrastructure sharing, Reliance Communications has announced the restructuring of Reliance Infratel, which it says will make it an independent and neutral telecom infrastructure company, to attract new 2G, 3G and BWA players, and faciliate consolidation in the telecom infrastrucure space. According to the release, :the proposal will lead to substantial unlocking of value for RCOM’s over 2 million shareholders, through:
– the cash infusion, leading to substantial reduction of consolidated debt and improved leverage ratios for RCOM, contributing to enhanced financial flexibility; and
– the receipt of partial consideration in stock, enabling continued participation in future prospects of the high growth telecom infrastructure sector.”

RCOM and RINFRATEL are at an advanced stage of discussions with several domestic and international strategic and financial players to finalise the proposal, and it is anticipated that, barring unforeseen circumstances and subject to necessary approvals, a transaction will be announced shortly.

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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