ISPs need to move up foodchain: new Ihug co-owner

Ihug's new co-owner hopes to bring his experience in running mature businesses together with Ihug's experience in Australia to help both companies develop.

Ihug’s new co-owner hopes to bring his experience in running mature businesses together with Ihug’s experience in Australia to help both companies develop.

CallPlus co-owner Malcolm Dick and his wife Annette Presley have bought 10% of the country’s third largest ISP from Tappenden Holdings. Dick will join the board of Ihug and doesn’t think there will be any problems with the new arrangement, despite Ihug’s difficulties in the past with previous merger attempts.

“I was involved back in the attempted Force merger and the market’s gone through such an upheaval since then. That was just the luck of the draw. Hopefully I can bring to the board the ability to reach up the value chain.”

CallPlus recently started its business offering, Commverge, and Dick hopes to take advantage of Ihug’s experiences in Australia to take Commverge across the ditch by the end of the year. Commverge offers a fully-managed IP-based telephony network to small and medium-sized businesses and Dick says its first few weeks have been quite a success.

“We’ve landed quite a few customers in the first month and hopefully with Ihug’s experience in Australia they can help us out a bit over there as well. They’ve done tremendously well.”

The 10% holding is a personal investment, says Dick, and does not tie the two businesses together, however he says he doesn’t rule out any future deals.

“CallPlus and Ihug don’t really use each other’s services at all so there could be some areas where it would make sense to buy services from each other.”

Dick says ISPs and telecommunication companies in general must move beyond simply offering bandwidth as a commodity and move “up the food chain”.

“They need to look closely at moving up the food chain. Up to now it’s been the plain vanilla kind of offering but they’ve all got to look at the high speed access market and some content and bits and pieces because they make a significant difference from a customer’s point of view.”

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