News | Wednesday, 04 February 2009

GO buys out historical rival

Nextgen and GO had been experiencing ‘commercial difficulties’

Charlot Zahra

The ISP market in Malta has been further consolidated with yesterday’s announcement of GO plc taking over the internet and hosting services offered by Netweb and NextGen Limited.
Nextweb and NextGen Limited clients were notified about the move in an e-mail sent to all the subscribers of the two companies shortly after midnight yesterday.
In an e-mail sent to all subscribers, of which Business Today has obtained a copy, the company informed that they “can continue to access the internet and use related services in exactly the same way you are doing now. Any changes which might be required will be communicated to you individually.”
NextWeb and NextGen subscribers were also informed that they “do not have to change anything in terms of hardware or modems in order to continue benefiting from your Internet service.”
In a joint statement later in the morning, GO said that “Nextweb, Nextgen IT and GO will be working together to ensure the smooth transition of the customers’ subscription with no disruption in the service”.
Contacted by Business Today, a spokesperson for the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) revealed that “commercial difficulties were being experienced by NextWeb vis-à-vis their obligations to GO plc… The MCA made it clear to both parties that at all times, customer interests should be safeguarded.”
The authority also offered to facilitate communications between NextWeb and GO plc “in relation to outstanding commercial issues with a view to minimising negative impact on NextWeb subscribers”, she added.
The MCA spokesperson said that it will not be launching an investigation on the proposed takeover. “On the basis of information available to it and the laws administered by the Authority, it does not appear that investigations are necessary at this point in time.
“The MCA would launch an investigation if the indications are that there has been a breach of obligations,” the Authority’s spokesperson added.
When asked for its view on the fact that as a result of this deal, an alternative ISP was being taken over by one of the “big three”, the MCA said that it “regrets the closure of any undertaking in the sector that it regulates. However, it acknowledges that it is a reality of a competitive market.”
Euroweb had joined forces with rivals Keyworld and NextGen, two other internet service providers, to form NextWeb, which operated as an ISP, while NextGen focused on web hosting services.
However, when GO and Melita started competing aggressively for retail subscribers around two years ago, bypassing the independent ISPs and competing directly with them for market share, the fate of most smaller ISPs was sealed.



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04 February 2009

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