Vocus buys iBoss, One Telecom customers

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Vocus buys iBoss, One Telecom customers

A steal at less than $500,000.

Telecommunications provider Vocus has swooped in to purchase the customer bases of fellow telco wholesalers iBoss and OneTelecom, after the two companies entered administration late last week.

Vocus is understood to have forked out under $500,000 for around 50,000 wholesale and residential customers of iBoss, OneTelecom and OneSeniors. 

A limited group of assets, specifically elements of the fixed-line DSL as well as network assets, are are also included in the sale.

Vocus had supplied services to around 12,000 of the 50,000 customers. CEO James Spenceley said his company was now contacting the wholesale and retail customers to reinstate or churn services, and work with other suppliers to turn on the services of residential customers.

A Vocus spokesperson said in a statement delays in the acquisition process - which began a day after the businesses entered administration last Friday - were related to protracted negotiations between the administrator and the secured parties of One Telecom and iBoss.

The secured parties are understood to be amongst the Conec2 group of companies, which also until today owned the businesses.

Conec2-owned business the Australasian New Energy Group was granted a security interest over One Telecom and iBoss last year.

The security meant any company other than ANEG that attempted to purchase the customer base would be required to obtain ANEG’s consent to transfer the assets and release the security.

Similarly, iBoss customer Medion is understood to hold its own interest over the iBoss billing platform.

The platform is not included in the Vocus sale. Administrators Ferrier Hodgson are understood to be currently in negotiation for a separate sale of the platform.

Vocus is understood to have been one of the five serious of bidders of ispONE at its August 2013 acquisition, putting in a bid at the time of around $2 million.

The bid would have covered ispONE’s 29 employees and 61,000 customers, as well as its fixed-line DSL, iBoss, and network assets. It also would have included ispONE’s retail MVNO brands One Seniors, One Mobile and One Telecom.

iBoss was entered into court-ordered administration last Friday as a result of a management deadlock between Conec2 owner Cameron Adams and iBoss owner Zac Swindells.

iBoss, which disconnected thousands of customers in the hours following the court ruling, entered administration with sister businesses OneTelecom, OneSeniors and AsiaPac Communications. 

All were owned by former telco wholesaler ispONE, which went under last year and was later controversially acquired by Conec2.

The businesses claimed that the restriction of carrier services by Telstra Wholesale, AAPT, Optus and Vocus to their third party wholesale telecommunications supplier, ANEG, meant the businesses were no longer able to provide phone and internet services to customers.

Questions remain over the future of the unsold iBoss billing platform, given the registration of a new entity - called 'Tboss' - with corporate regulator ASIC two months ago, as first revealed by iTnews.

The company bears no description but its five registered shareholders are all current iBoss executives.

ispONE had a yearly turnover of $55 million prior to its 2013 acquisition.

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