Alternative Networks’ £7.5m purchase and smartphone boost

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Smartphone sales help Alternative Networks claim revenue growth in the full-year 2009/10, with £7.5m purchase of Scaleable Comms giving it lead in Mitel sales

In a trading update ahead of release of its full-year results in December, service provider Alternative Networks said it has seen organic growth in mobile and fixed line revenues to the end of September, with better results in the second half of the year compared to the first.

In the six months to March 31, mobile sales reached £21.5 million and fixed line revenue was at £18.1 million.

Alternative Networks completed the takeover of managed data services company Scalable Communications for £7.5 million on October 2.

Alternative Networks financial director Edward Spurrier said, combined, Alternative Networks and Scalable Communications are now the number one reseller for unified communications supplier Mitel in the UK.

“It adds a piece that we were missing when we looked at what we could offer our larger customer base,” said Spurrier.

Spurrier said ARPU had stabilised over the year after slipping some 10 per cent last year, adding that the company had made “significant gains” in market share as its mobile customer base increased. Again, at the half-year stage mobile subscriber numbers were up 17 per cent and the fixed line customer estate was up 32 per cent.

He continued that Alternative Networks had overcome significant obstacles on the road to achieving growth in 2010, such as not being being able to sell Apple products like the iPad and iPhone 4, but with recent accreditation from network partners O2 and Vodafone to sell Apple goods is prepared for the next year.

“The summer was a particularly competitive place for mobile. Not being able to sell Apple products didn’t make life easier as a lot of business users turned their attention to them,” said Spurrier.

“Having that channel opened up to us will help over the next year. Smartphone sales have made a big difference to our prospects already and the opportunities for the next year are largely geared around them and what services we can offer as a wrap to the increasing use of data.”

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