WIND Mobile wins Supreme Court foreign ownership battle against Public Mobile

Even before WIND Mobile launched their Canadian wireless service other competing carriers were raising questions about the amount of foreign ownership they had, mostly funded by Egypt’s Orascom Telecom. A couple years of court hearings led to the Federal Court of Appeal to declare that Globalive, WIND Mobile’s parent-company, was “Canadian owned and controlled company.”

However, this news was not welcomed by one of their competitors, Public Mobile. Alek Krstajic, Public’s CEO, appealed the decision and stated they wanted further inquiry into WIND’s foreign ownership structure and took it to the Supreme Court of Canada. Krstajic boldly stated that all carriers, specifically Public, wanted “a level-playing field.”

Today the Supreme Court of Canada dropped the hammer and ruled against Public Mobile by stating WIND Mobile is in complete compliance with the ownership rules in the Telecom Act, thus not granting them a leave of appeal. In a post on their company blog, Tony Lacavera, CEO and Chairman of WIND Mobile, said “WIND is interested in fighting in the marketplace to provide Canadians with fair, transparent and competitive wireless offerings, not in fighting in courtrooms. We’re extremely pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision, which will allow us to tie off this loose end and continue working with the best interests of Canadians firmly in mind.”

WIND also took the time to announce they have “over 400,000 happy customers” and 490 points of distribution.

We’ve reached out to Public Mobile on the outcome, Bob Boron, General Counsel for Public Mobile, said that “Although we are disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen not to hear Public Mobile’s appeal, we nonetheless believe that by bringing this case forward, Public Mobile has put a spotlight on the issue of foreign ownership and control of wireless carriers in Canada… Although it is unfortunate that the SCC has chosen not to resolve the confusion over Cabinet’s authority in varying the decisions of administrative bodies, Public Mobile has been successful on the issue that really matters, the creation of a level playing field for all new wireless entrants.”

So, case closed. Now Wind and the others can focus on the upcoming 700Mhz spectrum auction.