Public Mobile asks Court to overturn Globalive decision

Globalive’s foreign ownership is still making news and will continue to make news for years to come. They were given the go ahead to launch their wireless brand after Industry Minister Tony Clement declared they are “a Canadian company that meets Canadian ownership and control requirements”. This news was bound to make the other new entrants and other industries question the move.

Today, Public Mobile has stepped up and asked the Federal Court to overturn the decision that allowed Globalive to launch stating “we could all have the benefit of having foreign capital”. Public Mobile CEO Alek Krstajic said “I’m not looking to get Globalive to stop operating. This is not about stifling competition, this is simply us saying: me too.”

Even back on November 13th Krstajic wrote a letter to Clement and Industry Canada communicating the need to block Globalive and requested more clarity. The letter was titled “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right!” and stated his frustration with the ownership rules as they are “sometimes applied and sometimes not.”

Public spent $53 million during the AWS Spectrum Auction and captured a reach of 19 million people in Ontario and Quebec. When it comes to investors, it’s well known that they are backed heavily by Canadian OMERS, Columbia Capital and M/C Venture Partners (which are U.S. Investors). Public Mobile is currently being examined by the CRTC for their ownership structure. On December 18th the CRCT issued a statement saying “At this time, and based on the information available, the Commission considers that the ownership structure of Public Mobile is of a complex nature and could hold precedential value for the industry and the general public.”

In a news release today titled “Public Mobile Challenges Government Decision on Globalive… Government Urged to Treat All Wireless Providers Equally”, Krstajic said “We believe Cabinet’s decision is unfair to other wireless carriers, especially new entrants like Public Mobile that have played by the rules and secured substantial Canadian investment. Furthermore, while we respect the Government’s authority we believe what it has done amounts to a change in law, and only Parliament can change Canadian law.”

“We agree entirely that there should be more wireless competition in Canada. And we want to be very clear that we are not opposed to Globalive’s presence in the marketplace so long as the same rules are applied to everyone. But the government’s decision does not create a level playing field. It has made two sets of rules – one for Globalive and its Egyptian owners and one for everyone else. We are simply asking that all wireless providers be treated equally and given the same access to capital.”