Canada opens mobile market to Globalive

Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:24pm EST
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By Susan Taylor and John McCrank

OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada opened up competition in its telecoms sector on Friday by overturning a regulatory ruling that had blocked Egyptian-backed Globalive from offering wireless service in a market now dominated by three carriers.

The decision will allow Globalive Wireless Management Corp to proceed with plans to launch a national mobile service in Canada, challenging the dominance of Rogers Communications Inc, BCE Inc and Telus Corp, which sought to block the newcomer.

"Consumers will vote with their feet and their pocketbooks and that's the way the market works," Industry Minister Tony Clement said in Ottawa after announcing the decision.

Globalive said it has built most of its network and would launch service in Toronto and Calgary as early as next week. It also plans to serve Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver.

The company, which will operate under the WIND Mobile brand name, said it would soon provide details about price plans, store locations and handsets, which will include BlackBerry, HTC and Samsung smartphones.

"The objective is to have a few -- quite a few -- WIND Mobiles under your Christmas tree," Ken Campbell, chief executive of Globalive's WIND Mobile, said in Toronto.


Shares of the established carriers dropped on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the announcement, with Rogers down nearly 7 percent, and Telus and BCE both down more than 2.5 percent.   Continued...

<p>Canada's Industry Minister Tony Clement speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in this September 17, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>