Lacavera wants to put the ownership issue “to rest”

tl-crtcDays before Globalive (parent company for WIND Mobile) goes in front of the CRTC to defend their foreign ownership, Globalive Chairman Tony Lacavera seems enthusiastic as always and simply wants to to offer Canadians another choice when it comes to wireless in Canada. He stated in our interview today that he wants to “put that question around the control and ownership of Globalive to rest once and for all”.

Even on his Twitter page today, Lacavera states “Big week ahead! Who’s ready for a lil bit of wireless competition?!!”. On September 23rd and 24th in Gatineau, Quebec, Globalive will be presenting and defending themselves on how their organization is structured.

It’s absolutely no secret that during the Wireless Spectrum Auction last year Globalive invested $442 million. A portion of these  funds were from Eygptian based wireless giant Orascom, they operate Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA in Italy and Greece and have 17 million mobile subscribers. This is one of the reasons Globalive Wireless changed to WIND.

To enter the Canadian wireless space a foreign investor can only hold 20% voting shares. Way back in March the CRTC actually issued Globalive their licenses. Lacavera said “We worked closely with Industry Canada throughout their detailed review and are pleased to be moving forward with this exciting project. Having been issued our licenses, we are one huge step closer to improving the wireless experience for Canadians by giving them a wireless company that listens, responds and collaborates with its customers. Today we are thrilled to welcome Canadians to a long-awaited brand new day in the Canadian wireless market.”

However, TELUS did’t like this news and requested the CRTC look into their organization. Michael Hennessy, VP of wireless, broadband and content policy for Telus said “In Telus’s view, a more fulsome and transparent review is required in order to ensure that all similarly situated carriers are being treated equally and fairly”.

In response Globalive said “The Government of Canada has ruled that we are fully compliant with the wireless entry requirements and we are confident that the CRTC will make the same ruling. Game-playing by the incumbents will only serve to delay our investment into the Canadian economy, the creation of new jobs and ultimately, Canadian’s already overdue access to a new competitive offering.”

However, this weekend the Globe had a great article titled “The minnow in the shark tank” where it gives a breakdown of the history of Globalive and the intentions of Wind Mobile. However, a quote stuck out in my mind that takes it to another level and is uncalled for:

“For now, the incumbents are portraying Mr. Lacavera and his holding firm, AAL Telecom Holdings Inc., as a bit player in a power play by Mr. Sawiris. “AAL is a minnow swimming with a whale. Its principal shareholder, Mr. Lacavera, is a comparatively youthful 35 years old and has no track record in the wireless industry,” Telus said in a filing to the CRTC last month.”

The CRTC Court hearing will be streamed live and we will have full coverage. One must remember and hopefully will be a reminder over the next few days the real reason these new players are even of topic today:

Jim Prentice said about the governments intentions of the Wireless Spectrum auction “Our government’s intentions are clear: to achieve lower prices, better service and more choice for consumers and business . We believe in relying on market forces to the maximum extent feasible because competition benefits consumers, and consumers benefit most when markets are as competitive as they can be.”