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Saturday
Feb052011

Wind Mobile under siege, ownership and control challenged

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Wind Mobile was the first of the new entrants that shook up the Canadian telecoms industry a year ago. With over 250,000 subscribers,  Wind Mobile now finds itself beleaguered because its controlling company, Globalive (which is a subsidiary of Egyptian giant Orascom) failed to meet Canadian ownership and control requirements in the telecom sector. Could this be the end of Wind Mobile in Canada? What will happen to their susbscribers?

“We are very disappointed with this decision. From the beginning, we have maintained that we are fully compliant with the rules. Industry Canada saw this clearly. Cabinet saw this clearly,” said Anthony Lacavera, Chairman of WIND Mobile. “This Court decision does not suggest that Cabinet got it wrong, only that Cabinet made two errors in explaining their rationale and characterizing the decision," said a statement on Wind Mobile's website.

The move to revisit Wind Mobile's validity is a result of Public Mobile's request and is also backed by TELUS who wanted the earlier decision reviewed. Public Mobile, like Wind Mobile, is also a new entrant in the cellular provider industry.

Wind is still operating as the  judge suspended his order for 45 days to allow the company and the government time to consider their options. Current and potential Wind Mobile customers, however, might feel the burden of continuing with this provider. Fortunately, aside from the price of purchased handsets and BlackBerry smartphones or data sticks, many of these customer are on a pay as you go scheme, which makes it easier for them to cease their phone and data plans if and when Wind Mobile shuts down in Canada.

“We are currently examining our options but this is not over yet. We don’t intend to back down,” added Lacavera. “I am a proud Canadian and WIND Mobile, like the entire Globalive group of companies, is proudly Canadian. Since 2009, we have brought on more than 250,000 subscribers who opted for wireless choice. We won’t let this be a set-back for wireless competition in Canada and are consulting with our advisors to determine our next steps.”

 

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