In January Tony Lacavera, WIND Mobile’s Chairman and CEO, stated that he would be stepping down and “enter into an agreement to transfer” his shares (AAL Corporation) of the company to Orascom Telecom, which is owned by Netherland-based VimpelComm, which would see them take controlling command of the wireless carrier. Half a year later, Lacavera is still spearheading the company and finding a new wave foreign issues that might delay his exit.
According to the Globe and Mail, the Canadian government is having “national security concerns” of how WIND Mobile is so tightly connected to Huawei. This is not the first time China-based Huawei has faced this issue. The United States government believes the Chinese government can tap into various telecom systems and grab sensitive data via their equipment. As for Canada, Huawei helped build-out WIND’s core network, which now powers their 600,000 wireless subscribers.
Huawei has been operating in Canada since 2008, employs over 400 people, and have also worked in some capacity with Bell, TELUS and SaskTel. On the security concerns, WIND said they have a “ring fence” with levels of firewalls and equipment from over 12 suppliers that protects its network. WIND noted that “we work co-operatively and proactively with CSIS and other law-enforcement agencies (federally and provincially) on both security and emergency/9-11 matters… Although we regularly work alongside these agencies on security matters, we must emphasize that we have never had any security issues with our network.”
A decision on the WIND/VimpelCom acquisition is expected to be completed before July 4th.