Canada's CRTC takes the air out of WIND's launch

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Back in August, Globalive, a big winner in Canada’s AWS auction, announced that it was going to launch its network under the WIND brand and shake up the Canadian wireless industry. Now it looks as if this will not be happening — at least in the immediate future — as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled yesterday that WIND does not meet the Canadian ownership rules. The rules, which are set out in the Telecommunications Act, stipulate that wireless carriers must be majority owned and controlled to the sum of 80% by Canadians. Because Orascom, an Egyptian company, owns 65.1% of the equity in WIND as well as the rights to the WIND brand in Canada, the CRTC ordered that WIND not launch its network until the company is fully compliant with the Act. Strangely enough, during last years wireless spectrum auction, Industry Canada ruled that WIND did indeed meet Canadian ownership laws as set out in the Telecommunications Act, but strong opposition from the existing major carriers — Bell, Rogers and TELUS, companies whose ownership meets complies with the Act — at a hearing on October 1st likely helped the ruling. So what does the future hold for WIND and its $442mm CAD ($413.8mm USD) worth of 1700MHz UMTS/HSPA spectrum? Nothing unless it manages to re-organize its board and find new investors.Read

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