**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q1 2013 .**
United Network Services Inc. (UNSi), a provider of data network and carrier services based in Lamont Furnace, Penn., announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Dallas-based Airband Communications, a provider of fixed wireless services with a southwest and southeast MPLS backbone.
The all-stock merger is expected to close in mid-May and will create a $62 million company under the UNSi brand.
This is the second acquisition for UNSi in less than a year; the company bought IPNetZone Communications of New York, N.Y., in June 2012. UNSi CEO Fracis D. John said the company will continue to seek acquisitions as well as organic growth.
The Airband acquisition will give UNSi a more extensive national MPLS and Ethernet platform, adding 12 PoPs for a total of 29 across the United States. In addition, it adds fixed wireless services in 16 markets. Combined, the companies also offer a nationwide VoIP platform and broadband aggregation network.
New products are expected from the acquisition, including MPLS over fixed wireless, SIP trunking and hosted PBX. These are in addition to UNSi’s services, which include MPLS, Ethernet, DIA, broadband, managed firewall, managed router and hosted monitoring.
Significantly, the acquisition of the fixed wireless network offers UNSi control over the last mile, including SLAs, in certain markets, said Allan Schwartz, senior vice president of strategic planning and business of strategic planning and business development, in an interview with Channel Partners. He said the company may expand the number of fixed wireless markets where they can easily justify the investment based on existing customer density.
The combined company will have primary operations in Dallas, Phoenix and Pittsburgh, as well as regional offices in other U.S. cities.
John will remain UNSi's president and CEO. Airband CEO Michael Ruley will be leaving the company. Timothy Kinner, Airband's CFO, will remain as executive vice president and CFO. The merged company will have 160 employees, including all of Airband's personnel, Schwartz said.
In addition, Schwartz said UNSi will accept all Airband sales agent contracts, which he estimated to be around 100. UNSi's channel program was only a year old, so he said there is not much overlap in the agents representing the two carriers. And, he added, UNSi is gaining a number of agreements with master agencies that it had planned to pursue. Details of the combined channel program will be released immediately following the transaction close.