BGR sits down with WIND CEO Ken Campbell

By on October 31, 2009 at 1:19 PM.

BGR sits down with WIND CEO Ken Campbell

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Canadians have long craved for a new wireless carrier to bust onto the scene and break up what is often described as the anti-competitive practices of incumbents Bell, Rogers and TELUS (aka “The Big Three”). Following Industry Canada’s 2008 auction of Advanced Wireless Services, the majority of hope was placed in a swaggering upstart which recently announced it would operate under the WIND brand name. But this Thursday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission informed WIND that it that it couldn’t go live with its HSPA network. The reasoning behind the CRTC’s decision was that if felt WIND’s parent company, Globalive Wireless, did not meet the criteria set forth in the Telecommunications Act which stipulates all carriers must be majority owned and controlled by Canadians. To meet these requirements, at least 80% of the board of directors and voting shares must be controlled by Canadians and the company cannot be “otherwise controlled by persons that are not Canadian.” What the CRTC found was that Oracsom, Globalive’s Egyptian financiers, controlled 65.1% of WINDs equity, the Canadian rights to the WIND brand, carried the majority of the company’s debt and that liquidity rights were “inconsistent with the relative voting interests of the shareholders.” The situation is complex, but all is not lost for WIND. With this in mind, we sat down with WIND’s CEO Ken Campbell and asked him what the future holds.

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

By on October 30, 2009 at 9:38 AM.

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. More →

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Globalive to launch Canadian wireless services as WIND

By on August 10, 2009 at 5:51 PM.

Globalive to launch Canadian wireless services as WIND

Globalive Wireless Management Corp., one of the big winners of last years Canadian AWS auction and overall trash talker towards Bell, Rogers and TELUS, has announced that it will offer its HSPA services in the Canadian marketplace as WIND. If the name sounds familiar, WIND is already a successful brand in Europe — particularly in Italy (where it was founded) and Greece — and its Canadian brand controllers are hoping to “not only leverage WIND’s challenger status, but also its operational intelligence and experience.” Canadians can expect to see WIND launch in key markets later this year with general availability (excluding Québec) in 2010. In the distant future, WIND will be making the transition from HSPA to LTE, although a time line for the move has not been made public.

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