BigAir buys OzEmail wireless customer base

BigAir buys OzEmail wireless customer base


Fixed wireless network operator, BigAir, has snatched up the iBurst mobile broadband customer base from OzEmail for an undisclosed sum. The deal comes on the eve of BigAir's plans to go public on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The 3000-strong customer base was now being brought across into BigAir's reseller subsidiary, Veritel Wireless,managing director, Jason Ashton, said. The deal boosts the Sydney-based telco's subscriber base to 7000.

OzEmail was acquired by WA-based ISP, iiNet, in February for $110 million. The sale saw its 47,000 dial-up, broadband and wireless broadband subscribers transferred across to iiNet. Wireless broadband services had been provided across the iBurst network.

"We knew that iiNet had a clear DSLAM strategy based on fixed wire networks," Ashton said. "There was an opportunity for us to make an offer for the iBurst subscribers, so we approached them and did the deal."

BigAir is a licensed carrier operating its own fixed wireless network across Sydney. The infrastructure is used to deliver Internet access, VoIP and IP Centrex services. It also provides iBurst and Unwired network connectivity through the Veritel subsidiary, which was acquired in July.

Ashton said the OzEmail customer acquisition was part of a plan to aggressively grow its customer base. The company was looking to reach 10,000 customers by November next year.

"We have to build critical mass in this space if we want to get good margins, particularly as we have wholesale access to the [iBurst] network," he said. "We need a large customer base to get the economies of scale.

"Veritel offers mobile wireless services, while BigAir is a business grade high-speed fixed wireless service. We want to offer both services to business customers."

BigAir was also planning to institute an initial public offering next month to raise $10 million to invest in capital expenditure.

Ashton said the money would be used to take its infrastructure outside of NSW.

In the long term, the company would also look to implement a single brand across all customer offerings, he said.

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