Access Providers to acquire channel telco

Summary:Wireless carrier Access Providers (AP) will pick up similarly business-focused telco Saise Telecom in a deal the two are touting as promoting the uptake of wireless broadband and Voice over Internet Protocol technologies.Executives from the two companies told ZDNet Australia  the deal will see over 50,000 business customers added to AP's current total of around 1,000, of which 400 were picked up through AP's July acquisition of Melbourne-based Internet service provider Online 2000.

Wireless carrier Access Providers (AP) will pick up similarly business-focused telco Saise Telecom in a deal the two are touting as promoting the uptake of wireless broadband and Voice over Internet Protocol technologies.

Executives from the two companies told ZDNet Australia  the deal will see over 50,000 business customers added to AP's current total of around 1,000, of which 400 were picked up through AP's July acquisition of Melbourne-based Internet service provider Online 2000.

Saise director Graeme Kelly said his company's customers would typically spend between AU$2,000 and AU$5,000 a month on its services, and contained between 10-200 employees.

Under the terms of the deal, 29 percent of AP's stock will pass into the hands of Victoria-based Saise's private owners, along with AU$666,000 in cash. No staff cuts will be made from each company's roster of around 25 employees, and Saise directors Kelly and Alex Kontouris will join AP's board.

Saise focuses on bundling business-grade voice, data, mobile products to enterprises, although it also offers managed hosting, security and systems integration services. It has a channel network consisting of 800 partners.

Due diligence and shareholder approval on the deal was likely to be completed within three to four weeks, said AP chief executive Keith Ondarchie, but the companies would start operating as one from Monday.

Replacing legacy systems
Key to the joint company's strategy will be to move its customers to AP's wireless broadband. AP has already started the process with Online 2000's customers.

Ondarchie said about 35-40 percent of Online's 400 business customers could be migrated to business-grade wireless. The chief executive said about 11 percent of that number had been migrated quickly, after their existing contracts came to a natural end. "Now we're just waiting for the rest to come out of contract," he said.

Two or three might not be able to be migrated, he admitted, because of their position in the shadow of buildings -- which could block the provision of wireless broadband.

Ondarchie also defended the fact AP had not yet launched a wireless VoIP product yet, despite saying back in June that it would do so in July. The Saise deal had pushed back the date, he said.

"We didn't want to release it as a product and then have to change it because of what we're doing with Saise," he said. "Saise is helping us re-package it for their market."

He said a large percentage of Saise's 50,000 users could be moved to VoIP. Saise's Kelly noted those customers were massively interested in the technology. "They all talk about it," he said.

With the acquisition, AP's network will cover the metropolitan areas of Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.

Topics: Unified Comms, Networking, Wi-Fi

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