Rogers interested in Globalive spectrum; MTS, Videotron unlikely to invest

16 Nov 2009

Canada’s Financial Post reports that Nadir Mohamed, CEO of quad-play operator Rogers Communications, has indicated interest in acquiring wireless spectrum from Globalive Wireless if the start-up is prevented from launching following a recent regulatory decision blocking it from doing so based on infringements of the country’s foreign ownership codes. Mr Mohamed said on Friday that ‘Rogers would be for sure interested in picking it up,’ adding that ‘I’m sure others would be.’ Globalive owns near-nationwide frequencies bought in an auction last year, but its imminent network launch was suddenly halted last month when regulator the CRTC ruled that the firm was controlled by its foreign backer, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom. Despite Orascom’s 65% equity stake being within the rules due to the number of voting shares controlled by Canadians, the watchdog found the Egyptian firm to hold ‘an unacceptable level of influence.’ Globalive may still appeal to Industry Canada to overturn the ruling, which went against the latter’s March 2009 ruling that the firm was sufficiently Canadian-controlled. In other, related, news it was reported that two other potential companies linked with a possible plan to ‘rescue’ Globalive by investing in the company, Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) and Quebecor (parent of Quebec’s Videotron) were ‘unlikely’ to do so.