Globalive hopes ownership review will not affect launch

22 Jul 2009

Start-up Canadian mobile operator Globalive Wireless says it remains on track to launch commercial services by early 2010, now that the regulator the CRTC has agreed to complete a review of the company’s ownership structure by the end of October, reports The Canadian Press. The CRTC said yesterday that it will issue a decision a month after the hearing on 23-24 September, instead of within 120 days after the hearing as it had previously said. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, foreign investment in Canadian facilities-based telecoms companies is permitted up to a cumulative total of 46.7% of voting shares, based on 20% direct investment and 33.33% indirect investment. Globalive Wireless, which spent more than CAD442 million (USD416 million) on 3G frequencies in July 2008’s spectrum auction, was established by Canadian long-distance reseller Globalive Communications but Egyptian group Orascom Telecom owns 65% of its equity, whilst Icelandic firm Novator also owns a minority stake in the venture. Anthony Lacavera, the CEO of Globalive, said he is confident of gaining the CRTC’s approval as Orascom, which has committed investment of USD700 million over four years, only has one-third of voting rights whilst most of the board members are Canadian. Globalive Wireless was officially awarded its operating licence in March 2009, but nationwide wireless operator Telus and cableco Shaw complained that the start-up was effectively being controlled by foreign investors, prompting the ownership review. Globalive this week announced a turnkey network rollout contract with Nokia Siemens Networks to build a W-CDMA/HSPA network to be easily upgradeable to ‘4G’ LTE technology.