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Home News Blog NATCOM concludes sale of FIVO, New Zealand’s premier Wi-Fi network operator to SmartPay Limited
NATCOM concludes sale of FIVO, New Zealand’s premier Wi-Fi network operator to SmartPay Limited

Auckland, 18 December 2008 – National Communications Corporation Limited (NATCOM), an IP-services company announced today that it has finalised the sale of its New Zealand Wi-Fi technology and network services business, FIVO Limited – a nationwide Wi-Fi network operator providing wireless Internet access in over 600 commercial locations – to SmartPay Limited (NZX: SPY).  The FIVO service technology was selected by Telecom New Zealand late last year to operate the Telecom wireless hotspot network.

Recently in a similar but larger scale acquisition, AT&T was successful in their purchase of Wayport, a US-based Wi-Fi network and service operator, for US$275 million.

Frayne Cooke, Managing Director of NATCOM commented that the deal means that SmartPay now owns and controls what is New Zealand’s only true nationwide network of its type.  “The FIVO network has the greatest coverage in the country, is a business with a significant share of the Wi-Fi market and is well positioned for rapid growth.”

When asked why sell a significant asset such as FIVO, Cooke says “the venture is now set to achieve significant scale and we feel the best vehicle to provide future growth is a public company with likeminded management; enter SmartPay.  Through the sale, NATCOM has acquired a significant stake in the public entity and is preparing a number of initiatives that will help with growth.”

Cooke says that NATCOM will continue to provide technical support to SmartPay and is expected to lead the development of several exciting new services, which will be accessed by the ground swell of consumers making use of Wi-Fi enabled devices.

“As Wi-Fi has matured, it has become the connectivity of choice in portable and mobile devices.  Mobile telephones, notebooks, gaming machines, music and video players are all available with Wi-Fi.  Devices such as Apple’s iPod Touch and the iPhone are providing a greatly improved experience with their innovative browsers and user interfaces.”

Cooke adds that more than one billion devices are expected to be shipped in 2011 alone, compared to 294 million in 2007, with revenues already in the billions of dollars per annum.

“What we (NATCOM) plan to do now is to invest in businesses and services that will leverage the network even further.  Devices such as the Apple iPhone and the many other devices able to connect to the national Wi-Fi network are screaming out for applications, all opportunities to generate more revenue and provide New Zealanders with simple, convenient, cost effective services, entertainment, and enhanced mobility”.

“We’re proud to have conceived and commercialised what has become New Zealand’s leading Wi-Fi network operator.  Being a part of the revolution in communications and in the distribution of information, media and entertainment in New Zealand is a very satisfying achievement for NATCOM.”

 

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