Feeds

Smart loses battle with ComReg

As firm is sold for €1

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Smart Telecom has lost its High Court battle with ComReg, with the court ruling that the troubled telecoms firm should not have been offered a 3G mobile licence.

The ruling from Justice Peter Kelly states that the regulator was right to withdraw the offer of the 3G licence from Smart. The offer of the licence was withdrawn early this year on the back of issues surrounding the €100m bond to be paid by Smart.

Smart Telecom has acknowledged the decision from the High Court but has yet to give any comment. "We have received today's ruling by the High Court. We now need to reflect on it and consult with our legal advisors," the company said in a statement.

"ComReg welcomes today's judgement, which confirms that ComReg's original decision was correct, and that it followed fair and correct procedures. ComReg believes that it has been vindicated by the court," the regulator's chairperson Isolde Goggin said in a statement.

The ruling comes as Smart Telecom shareholders voted to approve the sale of the troubled telecoms firm to a Brendan Murtagh-owned company for €1. Shareholder approval for the sale came at the firm's extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Tuesday.

The decision means that Calally Limited, a company controlled by Murtagh, will acquire the assets of Smart for €1 and assume Smart's estimated €40m liabilities. In exchange Smart will receive a 10 per cent shareholding in Calally.

Smart CEO Ciaran Casey has welcomed the decision of shareholders and added that "while we accept that the disposal represents a very disappointing outcome for all shareholders, it is the only option to ensure that shareholders have an opportunity to get some value for their investment. It also means that the long-term future of the business can be assured, creditors will be paid in full, employment for staff secured and services to the company's customers be maintained".

In order to manage payment to creditors, Casey said the company is currently working on a detailed payment plan. "All debts will be discharged in full in a reasonable timeframe. We very much appreciate the patience shown by suppliers in supporting Smart through this difficult period," said Casey.

This should come as welcome news to the Smart Creditors Action Group (SCAG), which on Tuesday called on Smart to ensure payment takes place promptly.

"Ciaran Casey made a clear public statement of commitment at today's EGM and we hope that he will follow this through as soon as possible with a detailed payment schedule. The Smart Creditors Action Group now represents over 30 Smart Telecom creditors and all are anxious to have their outstanding debts cleared," said Martin Ferris of Ferris & Associates, chairperson of SCAG.

SCAG was established in the past two weeks in a bid to ensure that all outstanding creditors of Smart are remunerated. The group will act like a Creditors Committee of Inspection in a liquidation situation. Over 30 creditors attended the inaugural meeting of SCAG last week and a second meeting will take place in the coming weeks.

Looking ahead Casey said Smart will focus on its residential and corporate broadband and data services. He said in the last few weeks Smart has retained over 90 per cent of its residential broadband customers and claims to have also signed additional contracts with corporate customers for data services.

As for the situation Smart found itself in last month, with over 40,000 of its customers left without voice services, Casey said management and the board take full responsibility and are not looking to blame anyone. However, he went on to say that government needs to "reassess how the market is operating if companies are to compete more effectively and if the benefits of competitively priced broadband services are to be made available to Irish residential and corporate customers".

Copyright © 2006, ENN

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.