AAPT snaps up frame relay bargain

AAPT boosted its Frame Relay data services portfolio yesterday when the company announced it acquired FRAMEnet, a subsidiary of the failed Telegroup Inc.

The acquisition provides AAPT with more than 40 new nodes in Australia, six in South East Asia and a frame relay customer base of around 50 companies, AAPT reports.

While the carrier hails the buyout as a step forward in its integrated voice and data network growth plans, one analyst said AAPT simply found a bargain that was too good to resist.

"I'm pretty sure AAPT got it for a rock-bottom price," Paul Budde, an independent telecommunications analyst said.

FRAMEnet was one of Telegroup's three divisions before the company self-destructed after a buying spree in 1998. "It couldn't finance its fast growth," Budde said.

Primus Telecommunications acquired Telegroup's voice services, while a buyer for the company's Newsnet fax business is yet to be found, Budde said.

He said the additional revenue from FRAMEnet's frame relay customers is certain to keep AAPT's revenues healthy.

However, as the carrier already had frame relay services from its QNet acquisition, Budde indicated AAPT was not actively seeking to buy another company.

Apparently a carrier named "Telco" was also investigating the purchase of FRAMEnet, he said.

According to AAPT's chief executive officer, Larry Williams, the market is yet to realise the carrier is piecing together an "access strategy" combining voice, data and Internet services.

"Most importantly, this access strategy will also mean that AAPT will be less dependent on Telstra for access," Williams said.

AAPT's existing national data network offers access to 103 data points of presence, connect.com's Internet backbone and the VicOne multimedia network, the company reports.

Officials from AAPT and FRAMEnet were not available for comment by deadline time.

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