Hawaiian Telcom, Inc.
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryCommunications Services
Founded1883; 141 years ago (1883)
HeadquartersHonolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Key people
Su Shin, President
ProductsBroadband Internet services, Local wireline services, Television
OwnerMacquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
ParentGTE (1967–2000)
Verizon (2000–2005)
The Carlyle Group (2005–2010)
Hawaiian Telcom Holdco (2010–2017)
Altafiber (2018–present)

Hawaiian Telcom, Inc., is the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) or dominant local telephone company, serving the state of Hawaii. In 2005, Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc., was formed by The Carlyle Group, following its purchase of the Hawaiian Telcom Inc. assets of Verizon Communications.[1] On July 2, 2018, Cincinnati Bell purchased Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc. for $650 Million,[2]

Hawaiian Telcom provides a wide range of consumer, business, wholesale communications and technology services. Service offerings include local phone, long-distance, Internet services (DSL and fiber optic), and television service;[3] along with wireless services such as a mobile virtual network operator using leased capacity provided by Sprint and Verizon Wireless's CDMA networks on the consumer side. Hawaii operations of Verizon Wireless were not included in the 2004 sale to The Carlyle Group, and Verizon Wireless continues to operate in Hawaii as before the divestiture. Among the company's business offerings are a full range of Internet Protocol services (IP), including Ethernet, high-bandwidth data services, managed services and cloud-based services.[4]


Early history

Hawaiian Telcom was founded in 1883[5] as the Mutual Telephone Company, chartered under the Kingdom of Hawaii. Herman A. Widemann was a co-founder and the President.[6][7][8] The original owner was Archibald Scott Cleghorn, father of Princess Ka'iulani.[1] It was the second telephone company chartered in Hawaii, after the Hawaiian Bell Telephone Company in 1880.[9] The Hawaiian Bell Telephone Company was also founded by Herman A. Widemann.[10] Mutual took over Hawaiian Bell in 1894.[1]

With the acquisition of the phone service of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company on the island of Lanaʻi, Mutual owned the phone system of the Hawaiian islands. Mutual changed its name to Hawaiian Telephone Company in 1954, with J Ballard Atherton as company president.[11] [1]

In 1967 Connecticut-based GTE Corp. acquired Hawaiian Telephone and renamed it GTE Hawaiian Tel. After the 2000 merger of GTE with New York-based Bell Atlantic, forming Verizon Communications, GTE Hawaiian Tel became Verizon Hawaii.[1]

Original company stock certificate
A Hawaiian Telcom facility in Kailua Kona, HI, USA

Carlyle Group Ownership

In 2004 Verizon Communications finalized a deal to sell Verizon Hawaii to the Washington, D.C.-based investment firm The Carlyle Group. At the time, Carlyle's purchase of Verizon Hawaii was quite controversial with the public and competitive local exchange carriers, Time Warner Telecom and Pacific LightNet, who had doubts about Carlyle's lack of experience operating telecommunication businesses, and their intentions as to raising rates, upgrading the network with optical fiber as former-parent Verizon was doing on the mainland, and possible resale of the business in just a few years, all seen as being detrimental to the public interest.[12]

Upon disconnecting from Verizon's back-office systems in April 2005, the company experienced difficulties transitioning to its own systems. Issues ranged from extremely long hold times to speak to representatives, to duplicate and delayed bills. In February 2007, the company announced that it had reached a settlement with its original systems consultant, BearingPoint, and had hired a new contractor, Accenture, to complete the transition to the new systems.[13]

Hawaiian Telcom announced on February 4, 2008, that it was replacing CEO Michael Ruley with turnaround expert Stephen F. Cooper, chairman of Kroll Zolfo Cooper. Cooper's previous management engagements include Enron and Krispy Kreme.[14]

On May 8, 2008, the company named Eric Yeaman as its new CEO, succeeding interim CEO Cooper. Yeaman previously served as chief operating officer of Hawaiian Electric Company, the electric utility serving the island of Oahu. The company also announced that Walter Dods, former president of First Hawaiian Bank and one of several local investors in Hawaiian Telcom, was assuming the role of chairman of the board.[15]

Bankruptcy and Public Listing

On December 1, 2008, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after missing an interest payment on its debt.[16]

With the bankruptcy, The Carlyle Group's ownership had been reduced to a small stake. In November 2009, Cerberus Capital Management announced to the bankruptcy court that it had acquired $7.6 million of Hawaiian Telcom's debt.[17]

The company's plan to reduce its debt by more than $800 million was approved by Judge Lloyd King of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on November 13, 2009. The plan required approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.[18] After leaving bankruptcy, the company's stock became publicly traded on the NYSE in 2010, moving to NASDAQ in 2011.[19][20]

Product Evolution

On June 24, 2011, The State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued a 15-year cable franchise license to Hawaiian Telcom, thus ending Oceanic Time Warner's 35-year monopoly as the state's sole cable TV provider.[21] Hawaiian Telcom launched the service on July 1, 2011, after a year of testing in the Honolulu area.[22] Island-wide service began in 2012.

In 2014, Hawaiian Telcom launched 500 megabits per second broadband after investing $125 million in its fiber optic network.[23]

Acquisition by Cincinnati Bell

On July 10, 2017, Cincinnati Bell announced it would acquire Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc., parent of local telephone company Hawaiian Telcom for $650 million.[24] The sale received the approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in April 2018 and was completed in July 2018.

Following the completion of the sale to Cincinnati Bell, the company announced that John Komeiji had been promoted to the role of president and general manager.[25] Komeiji had previously served as chief administrative officer and general counsel.

On January 7, 2020, Su Shin was promoted to the position of president and general manager following Komeiji's resignation to assume the post of general counsel at Kamehameha Schools.[26]

In September 2021, Cincinnati Bell was acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.[27]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Sokei, Debbie; Hao, Sean (2004-05-22). "Local Verizon workers optimistic". The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  2. ^ "Cincinnati Bell completes acquisition of Hawaiian Telcom, Komeiji named president". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  3. ^ "Hawaiian Telcom gets a license for cable TV". Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
  4. ^ Creamer, Beverly (January 2012). "Hawaii Business CEO of the Year: Eric Yeaman". Hawaii Business Magazine. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  5. ^ "About Hawaiian Telcom". Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  6. ^ Balch, J.A. (1912). Annual Report of the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce for the year ending August 16th, 1911 (1st ed.). Honolulu, The Hawaiian Gazette CO., LTD. pp. 76, 77.
  7. ^ "Mutual Telephone Company". The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. September 16, 1886. p. 3.
  8. ^ "THE MUTUAL TELEPHONE CO". The Daily Bulletin. July 23, 1883. p. 2.
  9. ^ "Number, Please". Ho'okuleana. March 10, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  10. ^ Balch, J.A. (1912). Annual Report of the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce for the year ending August 16th, 1911 (1st ed.). Honolulu, The Hawaiian Gazette CO., LTD. pp. 76, 77.
  11. ^ "J Ballard Atherton, President of the Hawaiian Telephone Company".
  12. ^ Martin, Dan (2004-10-06). "Union supports Verizon suitor". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2004-10-31. Retrieved 2004-10-10.
  13. ^ Wu, Nina (2007-02-09). "Hawaiian Telcom hires new help". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
  14. ^ Consillio, Kristen (2008-02-05). "Hawaiian Telcom ousts CEO". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  15. ^ "HECO executive named president of Hawaiian Telcom". Pacific Business News. 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  16. ^ "Carlyle's Hawaiian Telecom Bet Goes Belly Up". Washington Post. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  17. ^ "Firm buys $7.6M stake in HawTel: Cerberus' presence in Isles found in such hotels as Mauna Kea, Royal Hawaiian". McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. 2009-11-21.
  18. ^ "Hawaiian Telcom's $460M reorganization gets OK". Honolulu Advertiser. 2009-11-14. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  19. ^ Sophie Cocke (December 27, 2010). "Hawaiian Telcom starts trading stock". Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  20. ^ "Hawaiian Telcom Common Stock Begins Trading on NASDAQ under Ticker Symbol "HCOM"" (Press release). 2011-07-05. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  21. ^ "Hawaiian Telcom gets a license for cable TV" from Honolulu Star-Advertiser (June 25, 2011)
  22. ^ "Hawaiian Telcom TV kicks off around Oahu" from Honolulu Star-Advertiser (July 2, 2011)
  23. ^ "Hawaiian Telcom launches Hawaii's fastest Internet". 7 March 2014.
  24. ^ Moritz, Scott (July 10, 2017). "Cincinnati Bell to Buy Hawaiian Telcom, OnX for $851 Million". Bloomberg. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  25. ^ "John Komeiji to lead Hawaiian Telcom". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. July 2, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  26. ^ "Hawaiian Telcom promotes Shin to president, Komeiji to join Kamehameha Schools". Pacific Business News. January 7, 2020. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  27. ^ Brownfield, Andy (March 13, 2020). "It's now official: Cincinnati Bell acquired". American City Business Journals.