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Onestream Get New CEO – Aim to be UK’s Largest Independent ISP

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 (10:09 am) - Score 1,143
onestream_ceo_James_Carr

Hampshire-based broadband ISP Onestream, which launched in 2016 and sells a range of affordable ADSL2+ and FTTC based bundles to consumers, has appointed the former COO of Mobile Phones Direct, James Carr, to be its new CEO. The provider now aspires to become the country’s “largest independent ISP.”

The provider is currently seeking to move forward after last year’s embarrassment of being fined £35,000 by Ofcom (here), which found that they had broken mis-selling rules by taking over the telephone services of “at least” 113 people without their permission (SLAMMING). Most of those affected were elderly or vulnerable and even when customers tried to cancel their order the ISP still made repeated attempts to transfer them across regardless.

Despite that the ISP has grown their UK customer base for domestic broadband and phone services to 20,000 and some of those came as a result of several acquisition during 2019. The provider now has some big growth plans and as part of that they’ve appointed James Carr to be their new CEO, while Onestream’s current MD, Roy Abbott, will stay with the business in the newly created role of M & A Director to oversee further acquisitions.

Carr spent a good 7 years at Mobile Phones Direct, which eventually saw the company being sold to AO World for a reported £38.1 million. Onestream are also planning several new high-level hires to prepare itself for future growth.

James Carr said:

“Onestream has its sights set firmly on becoming the UK’s largest independent ISP, which, whilst ambitious, is totally achievable. I’m looking forward to working with the Onestream management team to create a strong, customer-focussed business we can be well and truly proud of.”

Onestream currently aims to increase staff numbers to 80 full-time employees by the end of 2020, although it’ll need to tread carefully since growing too fast has a tendency in this industry to result in reduced customer service or support quality. Otherwise Carr’s appointment follows the arrival, at the end of 2019, of Garry Boyd (ex-Mobile Phones Direct CFO) as Group FD.

Quite how close they’ll get to becoming the “largest independent” ISP is another matter and may partly depend upon how they define the target. In order to be truly independent you really need to be building your own physical network, rather than taking services from Openreach etc. We doubt they’re going to do that so they may be more in competition with the likes of Zen Internet or iDNET than BT etc. Mind you Zen has invested to unbundled some of their network, which gives them more independence in various key areas. Defining independence is thus quite a tricky chestnut.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar The Facts says:

    They wouldn’t aim to be the 2nd or 3rd, would they?

  2. Avatar A_Builder says:

    I’d be intrigued what they see as the business opportunity here?

    Yes, there will be a shake up as FTTP become the lingua franca. And TBH there will be less support required with FTTP as it is so much more reliable and predictable than copper.

    So all you are left with is; offer range / cost / whatever these guys may have spotted?

    Trouble is with a fully digital network others can move very, very swiftly to step into openings…..as the products from the network providers will be wholesaled and with OR they will have to be wholesaled to anyone and their dog.

    So I am intrigued but not convinced.

  3. Avatar chris conder says:

    y’after laff.

  4. Avatar CityBoy says:

    They have a very very long way to become the “largest” no matter how you measure it.

    In a recent webinar Zen said they had over 140k subs. So if you use the number of subs as a measure of size they are 1/7 the size of Zen. So lots of catching up and Zen’s growth appears to be accelerating.

    But then again it’s easy to grow quickly if you’re “slamming”

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