Globalive and Feds Win WINDy Appeal

by Jordan Richardson on June 9, 2011

The federal government and Globalive have won their crucial appeal of the Federal Court ruling against WIND Mobile’s right to operate in Canada. Short form: WIND’s still in business.

WIND Mobile can continue to operate its brand of wireless services across the country and can, at least for now, close up shop on this rather contentious period in company history.

The company’s competitors claimed that Ottawa had ignored Canadian competition laws in opening the doors for WIND Mobile in late 2009, what with Globalive’s Egyptian backing. The CRTC found that WIND didn’t meet Canada’s ownership standards, but cabinet flipped that around and let WIND in. Later, Public Mobile brought about another court decision in which the company wasn’t Canadian enough. That court decision allowed WIND to keep operating pending its appeal and, as you can see, the company won the appeal.

The convoluted process is “vindication” according to Globalive’s statement. This ends roughly two years of regulatory processes, appeals and late nights.

“We and our 300,000 customers are thrilled with this decision,” Globalive chairman Anthony Lacavera said. “Now we can continue…without the distraction and expense of challenges by our competitors to our right to operate.”

In the background this whole time is Ottawa’s insistence that they’re planning to change the foreign ownership rules in the telecommunications sector. They haven’t done anything on that front yet, though, and that has generated the sort of confusion that is behind WIND’s revolving door of legal entanglements. Stranger still, the government has supported WIND Mobile the entire time and has yet to fundamentally change the rules that effectively would prevent their operation. Some are suggesting a form of special treatment and it’s frankly hard to argue with that.

For now, the government is chalking it up to a matter of faith. “We have always believed that Globalive is a Canadian company which meets the Canadian ownership and control requirements under the Telecommunications Act,” Industry Minister Christian Paradis said in a statement.

But the government’s lack of movement on this issue won’t hold off the dogs of war for long, after all. Canada’s telecommunications sector still remains among the most anti-competitive in the world, with Canadians paying some of the highest fees on the planet for service. With foreign investments and opportunities on the outside looking in, the inmates continue to have every opportunity to run the asylum – no matter what the cost to consumers.

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