UNSi acquires Airband, beefs up MPLS reach, adds broadband wireless

UNSi, a competitive service provider, has purchased Dallas-based Airband, a move that gives it expanded MPLS capabilities and, for its business customer base, broadband wireless services.  

Purchasing Airband provides two benefits for UNSi: network and service scale.

Upon completion of the deal, the combined company will have an even larger national MPLS and Ethernet platform that includes 12 additional core PoPs (points of presence)--for a total of 29 core PoPs across the United States--fixed wireless services in 16 markets, VoIP platform delivered on a national basis, and a large broadband aggregation network. 

"From an MPLS perspective, Airband has an MPLS core backbone of their own across all of their markets so that's a nice addition," said Allan Schwartz, senior vice president of strategic planning and business development for UNSi, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We're adding 12 more PoPs so we'll be up to 29 PoPs, which can support MPLS, DIA, and metro Ethernet services across the Southeast and the Southwest."

A key point of the deal is that both UNSi and Airband will be able to better respond to multisite customers.

"In the past if there was a customer for Airband that was going to move from Dallas to Chicago, they'd have to change providers, but that's no longer the case," Schwartz said. "The customer base is going to be able to expand overnight and take advantage of our legacy national network as well as the existing UNSi customers can take advantage of the applications that are going to be available from Airband."

While it has not revealed any specific plans yet, UNSi is also in the process of strengthening its international reach this year, particularly in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Another benefit to existing UNSi and Airband customers is an expanded product set. Among the new products it will be able to offer are MPLS over fixed wireless, SIP trunking, and hosted PBX. These services complement UNSi's existing product set of MPLS, Ethernet, DIA (dedicated Internet acccess), broadband, managed firewall, managed router and hosted monitoring solutions.

Having the MPLS over fixed wireless service adds another delivery option for MPLS last mile, as Carrier Ethernet last mile, while speeding up installation time.

"In those markets where we are operating, we're going to be a lot more in control of our own installation intervals and it's going to allow us to deliver some interesting complementary options such as using a fiber tail on a cable company fiber asset or ILEC asset back to our nearest NNI," said Schwartz. "Now we can add a fixed wireless leg on-net and really control that piece end-to-end to deliver some truly diverse options even on a Layer-2 basis."

Already, UNSi and Airband have jointly closed a few wireless/wireline network deals serving colleges that have five campus sites, for example. In one case, UNSi brought its wireline-based MPLS network into two nodes and used wireless to connect the other three back to those two original ones to create a mesh within the campus and provide diverse paths from the campus back out to the network.

When the deal is completed in the next 30 days, the combined company will retain the UNSi name with operations located in Dallas, Phoenix and Pittsburgh, in addition to regional offices located in several strategic cities. UNSi has forecast that the merged company will "generate revenues in excess of $60 million annually, with over 160 employees." 

The new management team will consist of Francis D. John, who will remain president and CEO of the company, Timothy Kinnear, who will become executive vice president and CFO, and Theodore Baum, who will continue as chairman of the board.

For more:
- see the release

Special Report: The top wireline mergers & acquisitions in 2012

Related articles:
Sprint add IaaS to its growing cloud services repertoire
IP VPN prices decline 12%, but regional differences remain
Level 3, tw telecom, other CLECs step up to Ethernet plate