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OneCom boosts base by 13,000 connections after OneStream buy

Paul Withers
November 18, 2013

Vodafone Platinum Partner takes over rival and builds 190,000 total user base; Phil Rider relinquishes chairmanship of OneStream to focus on Digital Phone Company

Vodafone Platinum Partner OneCom has added 13,000 connections to its base by acquiring B2B rival OneStream.

The deal, which was completed on November 7, takes the number of connections managed by OneCom (formerly Premier Telecom and Business Phones Direct) above 190,000 – the biggest in the country.

Make a Wish
It is the latest major acquisition from a Vodafone Platinum Partner in the past two months – following Olive Communications’ purchase of Wish Communications in September, adding 45,000 connections, mostly Vodafone, and taking total numbers above 110,000.

The move will see OneCom, extend its reach into East Anglia, where it will occupy OneStream’s Great Yarmouth head office for a minimum of three months.  A move 20 miles away to Norwich has been discussed.

OneCom now has nine offices, including  a head office in Fareham, as well as premises in Southampton, Leeds, Hereford, Plymouth, Telford, Camberley and Chandlers Ford.

OneCom managing director Darren Ridge (pictured) told Mobile News all 12 OneStream staff have been retained as part of the deal – taking total OneCom staff numbers above 260.

Ridge added  the OneStream brand, which has existed since 2004, is likely to be dropped at some stage in the future, but no specific timescale has been given.

“OneStream is an all-round good quality and well run telecom business,” said Ridge. “It ticked all the boxes you look for when acquiring a business, a very loyal customer base with very low churn and good ARPU.

“It is a good strategic move for us as it gives us a wider geographical spread in the UK.”

Digital Phone Company
The acquisition does not include OneStream’s retail arm ‘Digital Phone Company’ (DPC), which remains in full ownership of Phil Rider (chairman) and his wife Kim Rider (HR Director).

Rider, who co-founded DPC in 1994, and later OneStream in 2004, told Mobile News he made the decision to exit B2B at beginning of this year – following changes to the dealer market, such as the number of acquisitions and consolidation.

He said his focus will now be devoted to growing the DPC business (one of just a handful of independent with a direct Vodafone relationship) which he says continues to go from “strength to strength”.

Rider added plans are currently being explored to extend the firm’s current 10 retail estate.

“The B2B market is now a very different place to when we first started,” said Rider. “There is now a huge amount of consolidation going on and we felt after a very good run, it was the right time to make our exit – and will now focus on DPC.

“We built a very good base of customers with OneStream  and are  a well respected business  in the region.  We attracted a lot of suitors after we made it known we were looking to sell, but  the decision to sell to OneCom in the end was an easy one.

“I’ve known Darren [Ridge] for more than 25 years and he shares  our views on the way business should be conducted, but also wanted to get a bigger presence in East Anglia. It was in many ways a perfect fit for them. ”

“I leave the business in very safe hands.”

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