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Access Partners buys wireless broadband player

Access Partners buys wireless broadband player

Access Providers has added 400 new business customers to its books with its acquisition of wireless broadband ISP, Online 2000.

Access Providers CEO, Keith Ondarchie, said the move would boost its LAN and PC integration skills and give additional administration and WAN support to Online 2000.

The company would be run as a subsidiary of Access Providers and retain its branding, staff and managing director, Peter Skaliotis. The financial terms of the acquisition have not been released.

After three years of organic expansion, it was time for a more aggressive growth strategy, Ondarchie said.

"We are doing well in Melbourne but need to acquire customer bases in the other cities to become a strong player in this space," he said. "This is a smaller acquisition, but we want to show the market we can do it right, then look to other types of acquisition."

Despite IDC predicting a doubling of the wireless broadband market in the next year, Ondarchie said other factors were behind the timing of the acquisition.

"We have a view that ADSL -like dial-up- will become redundant, so now is the time to get the wireless message out," he said. "Our P-plates are off and we are moving ahead."

The growth strategy also coincided with the impending release of the company's new voice over wireless services later this month, Ondarchie said. Although Online 2000's Skaliotis said keeping the company's brand and staffing were essential for maintaining customer confidence and business continuity, Ondarchie said it came down to a question of competencies.

"We need their services but don't want to upset our focus," he said. "We manage the core service, own and develop the network and Online 2000 focus on the customer - that way we don't cannibalise the businesses."

The merger follows Commander's decision to purchase an 80 per cent stake in Personal Broadband Australia (PBA) last month.

Ondarchie said the consolidation of the wireless ISP market was more about strategy than maturity.

"Companies such as Unwired and PBA have a different philosophy - they are acquiring funds to give themselves national coverage prior to profitability," he claimed. "iiNet and APV have focused on profitability prior to doing anything else."


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