WIND Mobile wins Supreme Court foreign ownership battle against Public Mobile

Ian Hardy

April 26, 2012 12:17pm


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.

  • TestMe

    PUBLIC MOBILE IS MY FAVOURITE!!! :)

  • Alex Perrier

    WIN is part of WIND!

    Public Mobile should improve their ho-hum company and add incentives like better plans and more coverage. They are missing out on cities like Ottawa, Cornwall and Kingston. They have done very little in 2012 while WIND has done a lot.

  • Pablo Moses

    Public Mobile stop wasting your money!!!

  • Eric V.

    Better plans? You’re out of your mind. Public is *THE* cheapest thing out there. You may call the cheap Chinese phones a curse, but I call them a blessing. All I want to do is talk and text, and when I drop the phone in the toilet or it gets stolen (both have happened) it’s not gonna cost me $200 to replace it.

    I have zero interest in WIND because they just can’t touch Public Mobile.

  • Vinny

    Stupid…Instead of in fighting they should be working together to fight Robelus…

  • JOHN WU

    HI ALEX

    ITS EASY FOR YOU TO SAY EXPAND MORE BETTER COVERAGE PUT MORE TOWELS, HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT WHEN WILL THE COMPANY GET ANY RETURNS ON THOSE NEW TOWEL INVESTMENT, AS IS THE ARP FOR ALL THE NEW CARRIERS(WIND, MOBILICITY, PUBLIC MOBILE) IS AROUND $30 PER CUSTOMER, SO FOR THIS RATE OF RETURN DO U THINK ANY BANKERS OR INVESTERS WILL BE STUPID ENOUGH TO PUT IN BILLIONS OF $$$$ IN THIS LAND, THE ANSWER IS NO! BECAUSE ITS DOES NOT MAKE ANY COMMON CENSE OR ITS TOTALLY WASTE OF FUCKING TIME

    • Rich

      I dont think carrier will get a return on their towel investment in the Canadian Wireless Industry, my friend. :(

  • deltatux

    We need more foreign investment, the telecom industry is in this sorry state of being one sided with the Big 3 controlling the market. We need more competition to break this cycle to rid Canada of this triopoly.

    The new carriers should not battle each other directly and should just focus their energy in toppling the Big 3, or at the very least level the playing field for all carriers. This is easier said than done, but I hope all the new entrants would be able to survive.

    There’s a lot of hate for Mobilicity on MobileSyrup (for no good reason) and that WIND should pick them up. To be honest, you don’t want Mobilicity to go under. They keep WIND in check since they’re the only other major AWS player out there that isn’t the Big 3 (Telus is another major AWS player in the HSPA+ space). If they fail or merge with WIND, we can say goodbye to low pricing from WIND. WIND has already slowly raise their prices (or lower their value for the same price) on their plans. What would happen when we get less competition? Prices will go up.

    We need all the new carriers to survive to weaken the common enemy which is the Big 3 incumbents.

  • 5Gs

    ME = Canadian
    Wind = Candian
    ME + Wind = Proud to be CANADIAN…

    In your face people who still believe Wind is not canadian enough for them…

    Go Wind Go!

    • Toshiro

      You = Idiot

      Wind= Egyptian + Russian

      pretty much cut and dry. 100% investment means 100% control.

    • Jay

      I’m with Toshiro, and facts are facts. I’ll stick with a company that has it’s base in Canada, it’s customer service in Canada, it’s CEO’s in Canada, coverage designed for Canadians, and unlimited across Canada calling no matter where you’re standing in Canada. With Wind you get what you pay for, plain and simple.

      Wind = Not Canadian
      Wind = Stuck in a zone
      Wind = Roaming in Canada
      Wind = Foreign Customer Service
      Wind = Doesn’t understand Canadian’s needs

      Wind = A bad choice for Canadians

      (Now go ahead and thumb down this statement Wind fanboys, bury the truth like you always do)

  • Ronll

    Great outcome… No objections here.

  • Merckx

    I’ve been with wind for 6 months now, best wireless decision I’ve ever made. Now granted I do live in downtown Toronto.

  • metoo

    Now if the feds would just hurry up and fulfill their promise of truly opening up the wireless market to foreign ownership we can get some truly large carriers in with large bankrolls. Wind had to jump though so many hoops and workarounds to get the financing they needed it just slowed them down. It was even worse for Mobi and Public that have tried to do it with mostly Canadian money. Let Vodaphone or Orange or the others in and see how real competition works.

  • metoo

    @JOHN WU

    Once again, please have someone look at your keyboard for you. It still seems to be broken and is making your entire post be capitalized, which looks retarded.

    Also, you are out to lunch. Even if their ARPU is around $30 that can be enough create a good return depending on their margins. The big 3 have ARPU of around $60 (and falling) and it is enough to provide OBSCENE profits for them. Through better cost management $30-$40 ARPU is more than enough to sustain a very viable wireless business in Canada. Not every carrier needs to act as though they have a license to pick your pocket to line theirs.

    • Toshiro

      Poor poor tween… ARPU of 30.00 on a 1.5 billion dollar debt and growing is not a good way to get out of debt.. look at the rest of Vimplecom’s APRU it is like 5.00 yes 200 million subs and they make less than rogers 9 million subs NOW you tell me if what you said makes sense. Besides why is toy commenting on this he is about to leave..

      prey to god the big dogs are not let loose in Canada because none of the new guys will make it out alive. Rogers, Bell/Telus and Vodafone.. the new big 3

  • aregularonhofo

    Great news, now Wind Mobile will have no problems getting secured financing from Vinpelcom and their partners (Orascom/Telenor) for expanding further and the Spectrum Auction…this only shows that Public Mobile and Mobilicity are not allies of Wind Mobile and the best solution would be for the other new entrants to either be bought out or simply die. Furthermore, Wind Mobile will have high debts building the network and that’s easy to achkowledge this, however they the world’s 5th biggest telco behind them and are in no need to slash prices so low like Mobilicity who can’t even sustain the network they have now or Public Mobile who only have a small niche of particular custoners…it’s time that people make the switch to Wind Mobile and you can help by persuading all your friends and family. Look at what Wind Mobile offers and then look at what the other new entrants offer…the choice is simple.

    • Toshiro

      what a buffoon nothing was stopping them from getting further financing how much more than 100% can you finance something?! Give your head a shake. BUT since Vimpelcom has already said they will not give any more money your statement is as as good as winds signal. 0 bars !

    • Mobilicity

      No, LazerAndroid, you can NOT have our Panache. Stop calling and e-mailing us multiple times every single day! No means NO!

  • JadonFresh

    Good News. Although I am not one calling for the complete removal of foreign ownership barriers …. without some rules. Why? Well foreign investors aren’t going to waste time and $ setting up their own networks in Canada. They will target ROBELLUS and try to buy them out. That is rational. They already have market share and make crazy money. I mean the new rules right now already permit a big foreign telco to build a new network in Canada because they’re under 10% market share (or whatever the number is) and nobody has jumped at the opportunity yet. They’re waiting to gobble up ROBELLUS. So we will still get screwed, just by a foreign entity.

  • aregularonhofo

    Oh boy, that takes the cake…Mobilicity is keeping Wind Mobile in check! WHAT A BUNCH OF BULL! Mobilicity is having cheap promos every 3-4 months just to stay alive without any expansions in the last year and poor service to match. Wind on the other hand is growing monthly and have established fair rates to survive. What fool would actually believe that if Wind Mobile instantly had 150,000 extra customers they would increase their rates to equal the incumbents and that has to be the most idiotic assumption ever. What we need is one strong new entrant to fight against the incumbents with financing and for everyone to support that provider. Not for fanboys to back failing companies and watch customers switch every few months simply based on $$$$$ where the service isn’t worth it. The only exception is Public Mobile who have their own niche that no one else wants and that’s why they’re growing with minimal data.

  • metoo

    @Toshiro I think you may need a remedial math course and perhaps an remedial english course as well. The only thing keeping a carrier with a $30-$40 from being healthy is their margins. As you say, Rogers and Bell are very _profitable_ at just below $60 ARPU. That leaves a ton of headroom for lower rates. Now if costs can be substantially reduced, say by offshoring customer service (nothing a highly trained monkey couldn’t do-even Rogers says they want to move to self serve customer service), then even $30-$40 can have very health margins. It is all about margins, buffoon. As far as why Vimpelcom may not want to invest more right now, they’ve been clear it is because of the mass of regulation meant to create an unfair market. Regulation pushed and written by the big three. new regulation is coming and Rogers isn’t going to like it at all. It’ll be a shame that all those high schoolers working at Rogers CS will be let go, but that’s life. Maybe they can join you in night school.

    • Truth Hurts

      Toshiro is Rocco StiffReddi, also known as Rockjock. Don’t waste your breath. Just thumb him/her/it down, and keep it moving.

      ;)

  • aregularonhofo

    @Toshiro:

    You mean 100% financing for the spectrum Wind Mobile already received in 2009 and I haven’t seen Vimpelcom/their partners back out on the deal in anyway, in fact after their first Supreme Court case Wind started expanding rapidly and have not been hoarding their funds like others for the next auction. Services have also improved drastically where signal is good all over and anyone with Wind knows this. Now that the Supreme Court has made it official once again there is nothing to stop Vimpelcom from further investing for the new spectrum and if you know anything about this corporation they don’t give up easily where they will regardless what they say through the media to benefit from it when battling the government. Vimpelcom either builds heavily to force incumbents to buy the company at a higher cost or will devour their low-end competition until they can compete with the incumbents.

    • Toshiro

      You are nuts. Vimplecom was to invest 500 million but they backed out.. then the old owner said if he did not get a deal they would not bid, that is backing out. And now tony says the same thing. Backed out of the auction. but money see monkey do. Tony talked before about getting more financing and that fell through. like many have said tony is all hot air. wind expands and keeps falling on its azz they even had a fake post on the wind forums about a windsor call center rep trying to get a hold of someone when wind has said they call center is on hold. Wind is all talk. I can see why the shake up has you scared. Ask people on the street and they all say wind who?

  • Neo

    Wait a minute….what phone are those people lining up for??

    • Toshiro

      I think that is the returns line. ha ha I was at the gym the other day and heard a guy say he called wind and talked to some guy in the Philippines. Now that is what I call a Canadian company!

  • Rory

    Is Public Mobile some sort of secret name Rogers/Bell/Telus go by when they actually care about how they look? (lol I know right)

  • josh

    I think Public Won a few weeks ago with the Conservative accepted to waive foreign ownership restrictions, to be honest they had no other options as they did a BIG error approving Wind and the beginning. Now for Public and Mobi to catch up with a 2 years disadvantage …. Wonder how much dirty money was given in cash to get this thru both the gvmt and the court

  • John

    I have tried Wind, Mobilicity, and Public, and I have to say that all of them are terrible. I would much rather pay more money with Bell, than endure torture with new entrants.

    Bell also has latest superphones at low prices. I don’t know why anyone would ever consider new entrants – they have noting to offer.

  • aregularonhofo

    @rockjock aka rocco:

    I have no problems with you on Hofo and even agree with you sometimes to make Wind Mobile better, yet even LA encouraged people to try Wind although for political reasons he was against them…I think your position is pretty weak now after the final Supreme Court verdict and you eventually have to realize that one way or another Wind is here to stay. Whether Wind grows or is bought the other new entrants don’t have a chance nation-wide and as far as many are concerned switching to the top runner is advisable. You either must work for Rogers or have shares in the company. Time to give it up.

  • Brian J

    here comes ATT and friends from below :)

  • aregularonhofo

    If you’re with Bell why not post it for everyone.

    Here’s an idea…post one that beats Wind’s $40 Plan.

    Or are you full of ???? like everyone at Bell!?!

  • Bilal Akhtar

    That image looks familiar.. Oh wait, it’s Fairview park mall in Kitchener!

    Back on topic, let’s hope small wins like these put an end to the current tripoly.

  • Mojo

    I could care less even if Wind wasn’t Canadian, I only want a good price and not be ripped off. I work hard for my money and the big 3 should do the same.
    Even if Wind was from Peru I’d still buy from them, who cares.

  • aregularonhofo

    What was important in today’s Supreme Court verdict was what Wind Mobile’s CEO said after words:

    “Lacavera says the upcoming auctions are vital to the upstarts and may cause a shakeup in the industry.

    There needs to be new entrant consolidation, so if this government policy achieves anything it will force new entrant consolidation and we intend to lead that consolidation.”

    The next part of the article:

    “Other analysts have also speculated recently that the upstarts, which are struggling to turn a profit in the cut-throat wireless industry, will have to band together to take on the major telcos such as Telus, Rogers Communications and BCE Inc.”

    Clearly Wind Mobile is going after as much of the beach front spectrum they can get, they obviously will secure financing and are already positioning themselves to be the front runners of all the new entrants.

    You’ll also see more expansion now and if the investors are who we think they are this was the best news possible. Furthermore, Wind Mobile fought all the way and had the guts to challenge the government in stating the present spectrum rules are not fair…whoever thought Wind Mobile/Vimpelcom would sit out the auction is dreaming and why we should back them.

    • Toshiro

      So we are not to take tony at his word? We should not take his bosses at their word either? they all said they will not bid. You are calling them liars? I am shocked!!

  • aregularonhofo

    Please, Wind was posturing and you know it…with this verdict Tony can now pressure the government for more changes and they will get some. Better move than the other new entrants who just stupidly agreed with the government’s decision on the new auction and played follow the donkey (or ??? for you rocco).

    • Toshiro

      what are you talking about? If the owners said this BEFORE the rules came out then I think you are the one playing follow the donkey. Tony wants more set aside, and how will he pressure anyone they threw him a bone now he can freely admit that orascom now vimpelcom runs things. Even you, rocco , now that!

  • david

    Yeah! way to go Public China!

  • Soldier Blue

    Lets not forget that the CEO of Public Mobile is a former Bell exec, and that the spectrum they bought is not only small blocks in high value areas, but a virtually worthless g block that many phones do not support.

    Public Mobile is essentially set up to be bought out by the big three, whereas Wind is set up to be a national competitor. Public Mobile can only have market relevance if no other “new entrant” competition exists which has a far greater impact.

    Because that essentially means the big three have no incentive to buy out Public Mobile – not for their spectrum, not for their few customers, and certainly not to prevent them from disrupting their precious ARPU, which Wind and Mobilicity are doing a marvelous job of.

    I’m personally happy about this decision, because it means Wind can stop dealing with these legal distractions, and any future investment looks easier to secure when your company is tested and proven to be valid.

  • Mark

    Wind Mobile is great in the 905. Dropped calls and spotty coverage in Mississauga!

  • Wardriver25

    This article makes it sound like each company is at each others throats. It’s misleading, I’m pretty sure the CEO’s of both are golfing buds. Matter is settled either way. & I’m very happy with my PM service and Android MAX.

  • Daeshawn

    Honestly I could care less about all the arguments. All I wanted was good service cheap plan with no bs fee that turn a $30/$40 plan into 60 or 70 with little to no data in this SmartPhone era. This is the case with Robelus and ive been with all of them. I have yet to complain about WIND. So im proud they won their case. Now lets see what they bring to the tabld next.

  • Dizzy

    I think most of us are missing the point her. This is in relation to WIND getting approval for foreign investment, while PUBLIC was refused foreign investment. Obviously PUBLIC would have expanded if they had disposable funds.

    Either way, I consider this a WIN because if there is no objections for Foreign investments then in the future PUBLIC and MOBILICITY can benefit from this ruling as well.

    Regarding the ARPU: Most may not know this and this is internal information ( for now ). Rog / Bell/ Telus currently has an ARPU of $55 and WIND has $30 while PUBLIC has $25 and Mobilicity is unknown but less than PUBLIC. The whole idea is to gradually increase the ARPU ( normal profitable business practices ) closer to but remain below the BIG 3. What you will see in the next 2 years is WIND moving upto the $40 – $45 ARPU and PUBLIC close behind at $30 – $35 ARPU. This is consistent with information released by both WIND and PUBLIC. Although prices will climb a little it will still remain below the BIG 3.

  • aregularonhofo

    @Toshiro aka rocco:

    Try to make some sense man!
    If Vipelcom wasn’t posturing also with no intentions of going to the spectrum wouldn’t they have sold by now without expanding or better still not be sending a new head honcho to Canada to oversee operations, with the positive verdict now coming in from the Supreme Court this also gives Wind Mobile more ability to push their disagreement with the way the federal government will be running the next auction and hopefully benefit from their stance. Throw in new investors it makes perfect logic and it was a better move than the other new entrants who praised the government where they can’t detract that position at this point. If anything, it shows the other new entrants are simply going after only the little they can get and Wind Mobile intends to be a bigger hitter-I’d say this was well planned out regardless how much you hate Tony or how many shares you have with Rogers. Overall it would be better that the other new entrants die off, however more customers would make Wind Mobile stronger and why many people want the two companies to merge under Wind Mobile before this happens or they are bought losing potential of what the deal could have produced.

  • Hrvoje Hrvatinić

    I want Wind Mobile die slowly and painfully. This is the most despicable company I have dealt in my life. In short – gangsters!

    My experience with them?

    I used their services last year for about 3-4 days. It was advertised as an unlimited plan – calls, texting, data… However, after using their phone for about 3 days, I got disconnected without a proper explanation. I called their office in Toronto. However, it was not Toronto at all. Somebody, presumably in India, tried to answer my questions….Finally, after several hours waiting, I was given this answer: “You were disconnected because you were roaming, using too much data.” What?!! I was in Hamilton, Ontario, all the time and it was supposed to be a Wind Home zone (no roaming in Hamilton!). But, they were telling me I was using the phone out of this zone which was a total lie. They wanted me to pay initially over $1000 dollars for using the phone for 3 days in my house in a Wind Home Zone (Hamilton). In short: Al Capone and mafia, that’s what Wind Mobile is. Of course, I refused to pay. I was so angry, boy…Now, a year later, they want me to pay more than $ 2 000 dollars. Furthermore, they reported me recently to a credit bureau agency as well. Still, they will not get 1 CENT from me even if they bring Canadian Army or Middle East Mujahedeen at my door. Now, I have switched to Public Mobile about a month ago. No problems so far.