iiNet are on the prowl for a tasty Adelaide acquisition..called Internode. Boss Michael Malone has revealed his hunger for the ISP rival this week, and believes his good friend and CEO of Internode, Simon Hackett, should have sold amid intensifying competition long ago.
|iiNet boss, Michale Malone. Image credit: Fairfax|
“I’ve said this before, I think he should have cashed out about a year and a half ago,” Malone said in an interview with Business Spectator this week.
“I don’t think the business will ever be worth more than it was a year and a half ago when the sector was still very much in land grab mode.”
Broadband has evolved hugely in ten years, he added, admitting the Internet roll-out is ‘nearly over.’
“My first 10 years was just about getting people connected to the Internet and telling everyone how wonderful the Internet was. The last 10 years has been about getting everyone to move from narrow band to broadband.”
“Every trick that we learned over the last 20 years is now irrelevant. The next 10 years is about how people use their broadband.”
The future for broadband carriers will be “very challenging,” Malone admits.
This comes as Adelaide based Internode, one of the first ISPs in Australia to offer IPTV service, FetchTV, has now been usurped by larger rival Optus, who last month launched the same service, MeTV, but at a far lower cost.
Read ‘Seismic Shift’: OZ IPTV Price Race Hots Up
Internode has been in major PR mode of late, slashing the price of FetchTV services to compete with Optus, and claimed last week it was “still [the] clear leader in ISP customer satisfaction.”
Hackett is even giving a 30 day free trial of the IPTV service to customers in a bid to drum up interest.
Its FetchTV full service now costs $19.95, while FetchTV Lite now costs just $9.95 per month – down from $14.95 pre-Optus MeTV.
When asked by SmartHouse the number of FetchTV users it has earlier this month, Internode refused to divulge exact numbers.
However, Internode has about 200,000 customers between ADSL, FetchTV and other home phone services, so is far from dead in the water, despite the new threats.
“But, Simon loves what he’s doing and I could draw parallels here with my own role in that I think the next 10 years is going to be extremely challenging, but very exciting,” says Malone of the Internode boss.
“I spoke with Simon a couple of weeks ago – we’re all a bit confronted by this, but we’re all pretty excited about it too.”
When asked about a potential grab for telco No. 2. Optus, Malone confided:
“If their fixed line business came up for sale, I’d be very interested, but Optus – they’re a $7 billion company. You know, I’d love to own my own mobile network.”
However, he said, realistically, the SingTel owned giant is out of his Perth based ISP’s reach.
But since he is in shopping mode, what about Telstra or Voda?
Telstra is never going to be available for sale, while Vodafone has gone through some “interesting issues,” the iiNet boss declared.
“Optus is the one we’ve chosen because it’s got that balance of quality and commitment to wholesale.”
The telco told SmartHouse last week it was “really pleased” with demand for Optus MeTV since its launch and expects to see “continued growth” as it expands functionality onto mobile and new content in the future.