The Competition Commission has approved Vox Telecom’s acquisition of certain non-banking assets in Absa Internet Access (AIA). The assets acquired will be integrated into @lantic Internet Services, Vox Telecom’s own consumer ISP.
“The combination of South Africa’s third- and fourth-largest consumer ISPs will create a strong competitor to the market leaders,” says Vox Telecom CEO Douglas Reed. “@lantic will now become the third largest consumer ISP in South Africa, with 13% market share.
“The deal offers real advantages for AIA customers,” adds Reed. “Absa remains the leader in internet banking and their cost-effective ISP service played a pivotal role in getting thousands of people onto the Internet for the first time.
"Many of them are now ready to move on to our more specialised services which include options such as a pay-as-you-go dial-up connection, a Vox ADSL phone, three specialised ADSL offerings and a full range of wireless internet offerings.”
Christo Vrey, GM of Absa Digital Channels, adds: “Absa believes that it has found the best specialised ISP for its AIA customer base in Vox Telecom. Vox Telecom is a leading ISP with a compelling value proposition of services to take our customer base into the enhanced digital era.”
Vox Telecom will take over AIA’s assets and customers with immediate effect and Reed says customers will experience no disruption.
“We’ve had a lot of experience integrating businesses and other recent ISP acquisitions, and the process should be completely seamless to the customer,” he says. “There will be no changes to dial-up numbers, so people shouldn’t notice any difference except that now they will have a much greater variety of products to choose from.”
Tony van Marken, chairman of Vox Telecom, says the transaction demonstrates Absa's confidence in Vox Telecom's ability to look after its loyal customer bas.
“We are very excited about the potential of this business which will increase our earnings and have a significant impact on the growth of our consumer ISP business," he says.
Van Marken says the deal, which has been paid for out of Vox Telecom’s own cash resources, is “an extremely rare opportunity we’ve been wanting for years. We’ve said we will grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions that are accretive to earnings, and AIA is a perfect fit for us.”
The acquisition of AIA’s 68 000 active customers will strengthen @lantic’s ability to compete in the market, says Van Marken.
“As a converged telecoms operator we also offer much broader services than the traditional ISP. We are confident that we will increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) of the current AIA customer base, which will further drive organic growth in the @lantic business.”