Bell tolls for cash-strapped wireless networker

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Specialist networking integrator Simply Wireless has entered voluntary administration and might be liquidated before the month is up if buyers aren't found.

Specialist networking integrator Simply Wireless has entered voluntary administration and might be liquidated before the month is up if buyers aren't found.

Desmond O'Geran, CEO at Sydney-based Simply Wireless, said Peter Yates and David Lombe of consultancy Deloitte were appointed as administrators of the wireless WAN and WLAN reseller on 30 July.

If buyers could not be found soon, the integrator would have to be wound up in about two weeks, he said.

"It's heart-breaking," O'Geran said. "Unfortunately, Simply Wireless did run out of steam by about the twenty-third mile of the marathon."

O'Geran admitted the company "had made some mistakes" but argued that wireless WAN and WLAN had great market potential as yet unfulfilled.

The company had invested close to $2 million in itself but total debts were "an absolute fraction" of that, he said.

"I'm pretty optimistic in terms of us coming out of voluntary administration," O'Geran said. "I think there's about a 70 percent chance of us coming out of this."

Expressions of interest from potential buyers or equity partners closed with Deloitte 11 August.

O'Geran said more than 40 had shown interest so far. Potentially about 85 percent of those would drop out at some point in the process, he said.

"You might see Simply Wireless re-emerging under the wing of a larger integrator," O'Geran said.

Simply Wireless was still trading and its partner relationships, including with distributors, remained strong, he said.

However, O'Geran had been trying to raise capital for the company for about 12 months to no avail. Regrettably, the company had been forced to decide the best course left was to enter voluntary administration, he said.

O'Geran said the company had two main strengths, WLAN and wireless WAN deployment. WLAN was doing well, but mainly in the education sphere where making profits was somewhat tricky, he said.

Wireless WAN was stronger, but not yet in the enterprise. "The Australian enterprise IT manager is sitting on his arse about wireless, to be honest," O'Geran said. "But wireless WAN is an awesome product."

Australia was still 24 months behind the US and 18 months behind the UK, which made it harder to prove the business case, he added.

Wireless in the enterprise was still going to happen, he said, but it was a matter of when. For WLAN, companies needed to realise site surveys were needed if an effective implementation was to be carried out, he added.

Meanwhile, wireless WAN products were offering six-month payback times, he pointed out.

"I'm looking for someone who shares the vision, who's excited about technology, who might have made money in the late 90s to 2000, but who, you know what, hung on to it," O'Geran said.

Ingrid Oey, a spokeswoman for Deloitte, said more details would be released in due course. A full report on the company was being prepared.

"I actually can't speak to journalists in relation to our administration. [However] there will be a meeting of creditors [in about two weeks]," Oey said.

Joint and several voluntary administrators Yates and Lombe were not available for comment on Friday.

However, an advertisement on Deloitte's website explains that Simply Wireless is for sale.

Yates and Lombe are seeking expressions of interest from potential equity partners to purchase the assets and business of Simply Wireless.

"Simply Wireless is an independent Australian wireless network specialist [that] plans, designs, deploys and networks wireless solutions, with a strong market position," they said.

The sale was an opportunity for a new player to enter the wireless market or for a system integrator to acquire a "strong, established client base" and increased sales potential, Yates and Lombe said.

Simply Wireless had strong brand equity, IP and engineering skills and an experienced technical and sales team, they added.


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