Monday, January 11, 2010

Canada - Govt challenged on decision to permit Wind Mobile to operate

[teleclick] Aspiring wireless operator, Public Mobile, is challenging the federal government’s decision to overrule a regulatory ruling blocking Globalive Wireless (aka WIND Mobile) from entering the Canadian wireless market.

Globalive’s launch was initially blocked by the CRTC due to the high stake of the company owned by Egyptian telecom giant, Orascom. But this decision was overturned by the federal Cabinet, which cited the need for a more competitive wireless industry. Now, Public Mobile is taking the federal government to court, arguing that it did not have the legal authority to do this without altering the foreign ownership laws that the CRTC’s ruling was based on.

Public Mobile stresses that it is not trying to get Globalive re-banned from Canada, only clarify the country’s foreign ownership rules and ensure that there is a level playing field for other companies backed by foreign capital.

“We’re not asking them to stop competition. We’re not asking for Globalive to stop operating. If in fact Globalive is not Canadian-owned and controlled, then change the law, let it go to parliament, and let us bring in foreign capital the way that Globalive has,” Public Mobile CEO, Alek Krstajic, was quoted as saying yesterday.

Although Public Mobile’s strategy is risky and admittedly self-interested, it does make a lot of sense from a government accountability point of view. By granting a legal exemption for Globalive, the federal government was essentially ruling by decree and granting special privileges to a specific countries. It was the right decision to promote competition, but it set a bad precedent that could easily be abused in the future. Public Mobile is right to cast light on this fact.

Public Mobile Challenges Canadian Government’s Globalive Decision

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