The parent company behind Alpha Telecom and Alpha Mobile, which ceased trading earlier this year, has been put into liquidation after it amassed debts of almost £3.5m.
Jeffrey Brenner at insolvency practitioners B&C Associates is currently leading the liquidation process. Administrator Rachel Brewster told Mobile that the business went into liquidation because it was insolvent and unable to pay back its debts of £3,467,663.
Brenner is realising any assets of the business, which will then be used to pay off any creditors. Hundreds of customers could have been left out of pocket by the collapse of Alpha Mobile and it is unlikely they will get any of their money back. As unsecured creditors, they are at the bottom of the list of those whose debts will be repaid.
Mobile has been inundated with correspondence from angry former customers since Onyx Innovation ceased trading in January. Customers accused staff at Onyx’s MVNO Alpha Mobile of trying to sell them credit for the service in the weeks before it stopped trading. It also initially blamed ‘technical difficulties’ for problems with the business before announcing it would be placed in liquidation. The company’s CEO Zafar Mirza has repeatedly declined to speak to Mobile.
After it announced it would be placed in liquidation, Alpha Telecom assured customers a new service would be up and running soon. In its most recent email to customers in March, it said: ‘We have now finalised an agreement for the new telecom group to commence providing you with the service. Unfortunately it is taking longer than expected to transfer the access numbers from Onyx.’ The company blamed the regulator Ofcom for the delay but assured customers the service would be up and running within the week.
An Ofcom spokesperson told Mobile several numbers had been transferred from Onyx to a company called Digitech. However, it is unclear if Digitech is planning to launch a new service.
One customer complained: ‘I am owed £176 by Alpha. They phoned me and took my money just before they stopped their service. I am ?not in the position to be able to just throw away so much money.’
Another said: ‘I have an outstanding balance of more than £66 in my account. How do I get it back? Every time I contacted them they told me it was technical problems [and] it would all be back to normal in about a week.'
Onyx Innovation launched its MVNO Alpha Mobile last summer, in a bid to target the fast-growing ethnic MVNO market. The business acquired fixed-line provider Alpha Telecom in 2010, which had been trading since 1996.
Editor: Graeme Neill