Commander can't sell iBurst

Summary:Five months after besieged ICT services outfit Commander announced its turnaround plan, the company still hasn't found a buyer for its iBurst/Personal Broadband Australia wireless internet service provider, and one analyst believes it won't.

Five months after besieged ICT services outfit Commander announced its turnaround plan, the company still hasn't found a buyer for its iBurst/Personal Broadband Australia wireless internet service provider, and one analyst believes it won't.

Speaking to ZDNet.com.au today, a Commander spokesperson said that although iBurst was on the list of assets that were up for sale, there had been no deal as yet. "There are talks going on about it, but there are no decisions as yet," they said.

CEO Amanda Lacaze instigated a turnaround plan for the company early this year after the board of the company had to right repeated allegations of a proposed fire sale and the company's share price dropped significantly.

The company decided to focus on its high-margin core business, and sold off companies such as telecommunications reseller and network service provider Nexus, its Western Australian enterprise ICT business and wholesale networking arm Unitel.

Commander bought 80 per cent of Personal Broadband Australia, the operator of the iBurst wireless service, in 2005.

Telsyte analyst Warren Chaisatien said that Commander needed to drop the iBurst ballast. "It's not a star performer, and they would have to get rid of it ASAP," he said.

Factors such as the competitive success and reach of third-generation (3G) mobile services, and delays in setting standards had pushed pre-WiMAX services like iBurst into catering for niche markets, Chaisatien said. "If they let it run as it is, I think it would die naturally," he added.

However, a buyer might be difficult to find, he said. "I don't believe anyone would be interested in buying." He conceded that there was value in the network equipment and towers, but said they may need to be upgraded in the future to become compatible with standards.

"I think they would have to write [iBurst] off," he concluded.

The other major mobile broadband rival to 3G in Australia is posed by Unwired, which operates a pre-WiMAX network in several major cities around the nation. But the company has been unable to provide an update on its operations since its acquisition by the Seven Network.

Topics: Telcos, Tech Industry

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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