Friday, December 25, 2009

Canada - Regulator to review foreign ownership of a second mobile operator

[teleclick] Canada’s telecom regulator, the CRTC, has announced plans to review the ownership structure of Public Mobile, a new mobile phone carrier hoping to begin offering services in the early part of 2010.

The CRTC says it will conduct a “type 2 review of the ownership and control of Public Mobile in order to determine its eligibility to operate as a Canadian telecommunications common carrier.” The main issue at hand is whether Public Mobile (formerly BMV Holdings) complies with Canada’s strict foreign ownership rules.

Public Mobile CEO, Alek Krstajic, expressed confidence that the CRTC would “very quickly come to a determination that we are Canadian controlled in fact and in law.”

Earlier this year, regulators conducted a similar review of Globalive Wireless and determined that it was not eligible to operate in Canada due to the high percentage of the company owned by Egypt-based Orascom. The federal government later overturned this ruling, however, citing the need for a more competitive wireless market.

In the event that the CRTC blocks Public Mobile from operating in Canada, there is a good chance that the government will simply overrule it again. It would be difficult to justify going out on a limb for one carrier, after all, without consistently promoting the principle of open competition.

CRTC to Review Ownership Structure of Public Mobile

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