Birch Communications aims to add 50 percent more dealers in Florida by this time next year, thanks to the intended takeover of AstroTel's operating assets.
The Georgia-based IP and managed services provider announced its latest purchase agreement on Tuesday and noted that channel partners are a key part of its strategy in the Sunshine State.
"We are welcoming former AstroTel dealers into the Birch fold," Christopher Ramsey, vice president of sales and marketing, told Channel Partners. "With this acquisition, Birch will almost double our presence in Florida, expanding our service offering to more than 1.6 million potential customers ... We are always looking for dealers who are willing to grow their company with us."
AstroTel targeted SMBs with services including local, long-distance and Internet access; PBX and virtual PBX systems; and Web and email hosting. It's not clear why AstroTel was willing to sell; industry speculation has it that the company faced too much competition from telecom giants. Whatever the circumstances, Birch saw opportunity in the provider's IP network that spans several markets – Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota and Bradenton – on Florida's west coast and snapped it up for an undisclosed sum. Now, Birch's dealers are approaching former AstroTel customers – including end users, and reseller and wholesale partners – about its voice and data products.
"With the acquisition of AstroTel, we see the opportunity for expansion and realize we have twice as much presence to promote as before," said Brad Smith, vice president of sales.
The AstroTel deal, when it closes, will mark Birch's 14th acquisition since 2006.