UPC buys Wi-Fi provider Bitbuzz for between €5m and €6m

5 Dec 2014

UPC Business has acquired Irish and UK Wi-Fi operator Bitbuzz. While terms and conditions weren’t disclosed, the cable giant is believed to have paid between €5m and €6m for Bitbuzz.

Bitbuzz, which was founded in 2003 in Dublin, operates an extensive Wi-Fi network across airports, hotels, café bars, pubs and other public locations across Ireland and the UK.

UPC’s business division acquired the Wi-Fi operator in a move aimed at strengthening its presence in key business markets.

“This is a first step in our plans to expand UPC’s services in the business market by adding value added services that complement our high speed broadband services,” UPC vice president of Business Services Gavan Smyth explained.

“Bitbuzz is a successful and innovative Irish company specialising in Wi-Fi communications. This acquisition makes an excellent strategic combination and compliments our extensive range of fibre powered business broadband and communications services.

“This will enable UPC Business to further expand our services across the hospitality, education and health industries,” Smyth said.

Consolidation in telecoms

Pictured: UPC VP for Business Services Gavan Smyth with Bitbuzz managing director Shane Deasy. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

The move comes at an interesting time. It is just ahead of UPC’s plans to enter the mobile market as an MVNO, a move that will complete UPC’s offering as a quad play operator. Having a deep Wi-Fi offering will complement and strengthen UPC’s efforts to serve businesses with consistent wireless services.

It also ups the ante against incumbent operator Eircom which is already a fully-fledged quad play operator and has its own extensive Wi-Fi network in public places – including phone boxes – around Ireland.

“The combination of our two businesses will enable Bitbuzz customers to benefit from UPC’s expertise, services and global reach,” Bitbuzz managing director Shane Deasy said.

“Our widespread Wi-Fi network will also expand into new market sectors as we step forward into the future with UPC Business.

“By joining together, we will share our collective strengths and enhance our overall services for customers while retaining a strong identity,” Deasy said.

Business Wi-Fi image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years