Internet service provider Pacific Wireless today expressed an interest in buying the iBurst wireless business from the wreckage of Commander.
Commander, which went into administration earlier this month, bought 80 per cent of Personal Broadband Australia, the operator of the iBurst wireless service, in 2005.
It was not the company as a whole which Pacific Wireless was interested in, but assets such as its ground sites and backhaul, which it wanted to use to launch its products across the nation. Pacific Wireless currently has a wireless broadband network in Melbourne.
"What we're really interested in is the real estate and the spectrum," Pacific Wireless MD Jonathan Shutt told ZDNet.com.au. "iBurst is on a downward slope."
Acquiring the assets now would considerably shorten the length of time it would take to carry out a national expansion, Shutt said, without the process of finding transmission sites and negotiating other supplier agreements for backhaul.
The iBurst network extends to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast.
As for what would happen to staff, Shutt said "that would be something we would have to discuss with the administrator".
Pacific Wireless was not the first to air its interest in the Commander subsidiary. News Ltd newspapers have reported fellow wireless ISP Big Air was was interested in the carrier.
However, Shutt said Big Air's interest didn't make any sense because iBurst was on its way down and BigAir already had national coverage.
The interest in iBurst came after Telsyte analyst Warren Chaisatien said it would be unlikely that Commander would find a buyer for the company due to the dominance of the rival 3G mobile technology and the necessity to upgrade equipment in the future to meet new wireless standards.