Public Mobile: “if you’re going to have one set of rules for him, have them for us as well”

Alek Krstajic, CEO of Public Mobile, appeared on CBC News Network’s The Lang & O’Leary Exchange to talk about their recent choice about asking the Federal Court to review and overturn the December 11th decision that allowed Globalive to launch. Some analysts say this filing “could drag out for months”.

Krstajic does make some valid points. He’s not looking to stop Globalive from launching their brand, he simply wants the same rights they have when it comes to raising outside capital. In fact, he believes all Canadian carriers should have the same access to foreign investment. In the interview he stated: “What the government essentially did was say the law that exists today that limits foreign ownership doesn’t apply. And if it doesn’t apply to the folks at Globalive, our view is it shouldn’t apply to any of us, from a fairness perspective.”

Here is an outline of the interview we captured:

Kevin O’Leary: “I like what you are doing from this context. I think business is war and you should pour boiling oil over your competitors everyday. So it’s a nice move you’re making. But in the end it’s not going to stop them from operating. That’s the issue here. Would you prefer at the end that these markets are opened up to all markets? In other words if you can get capital from abroad wouldn’t your cost of money go down? Wouldn’t the value of your franchise go up”?

Krstajic: Completely. And that’s exactly the argument. Look, let’s be really clear about this. Tony Lacavera is one of my best friends. I like the guy. I think the guy should be allowed to operate. All I’m saying is that if you’re going to have one set of rules for him, have them for us as well. Let me get foreign capital right now. I have American partners right now who would love to invest more money and they can’t because we have complied with the rules as we were told they existed and we can’t have any more foreign capital. What we want to do is force the government to say we made new rules in what we did, and we made them for Tony and the guys at Globalive, now let’s treat all, forget the new entrants, let’s open up these markets for the incumbents as well… we should have fair rules across the board.”

Kevin O’Leary: “If this works and you can get foreign capital behind all of the players, including yours. Will it solve the problem Canadians really have an issue with… When are we going to stop the madness and free Canadians of these outrageous pricing we’re forced to feed on?”

Krstajic: “We at Public Mobile have one rate plan when we launch… Unlimited Talk and Text for $40. That’s it. To the U.S. it’s $5.00 flat rate. If you want unlimited Canadian long distance it’s a $5.00 add on. If you want unlimited U.S. long distance it’s another $5.00 add on… we are building our network, we’re optimizing it and we’ll be up very shortly… I think the key right now is that we’re going to be in Ontario and Quebec, we would love to be in the rest of Canada, I need a bit more capital for that and would love to bring on some foreign capital.”

Interesting points as he just wants the same rules. Krstajic did give greater insight into their plans and offerings though. We already knew they would be offering a $40 flat rate talk & text plan at launch (will probably change when data devices arrive), but what is new is the long distance add-on prices.

What are your thoughts… Should all the carriers have access to foreign investment?