No Love Lost: Telus Hits Back At Globalive Over Misleading Foreign Ownership Allegations

by Gaurav Kheterpal on July 24, 2012

Globalive and Telus aren’t the best of friends. In fact, the two wireless carriers have been on the wrong side of each other on several occasions. Last month, Globalive formally asked the CRTC to review TELUS ownership to ensure compliance with foreign ownership limits.

Back then, Globalive accused Telus of employing ‘complicated and rarely used’ methods to bend the law to control its foreign levels. Of course, Telus wasn’t amused and it responded back stating it fully abides by the Canadian ownership laws and the allegations are “unfounded and misleading.”

Since then, the focus of attention shifted to Telus’ financial turmoil and dissident shareholders. But yesterday, Telus hit back at Globalive and requested CRTC to dismiss all “misleading allegations” made regarding its foreign ownership structure.

It would be interesting to see how the CRTC responds to this issue. One thing is for sure though – the Telus – Globalive love affair will continue for many years to come!

To defend itself, Telus released figures which suggest that it’s 32.59 per cent foreign-owned, as of June 29. For what it’s worth, the federal limit for foreign ownership in large telcos is 33.3 per cent. The carrier claims that it measures the ownership level on a daily basis to ensure that it’s abiding by the law.

Telus’ foreign ownership woes got worse earlier this month when Mason Capital filed a petition with the Supreme Court of British Columbia to force the carrier to disclose more details about how shareholders voted on its now-withdrawn share consolidation proposal.

“The CRTC should dismiss their complaint,” Telus Chief financial officer Robert McFarlane said in a statement. “Telus continues to be fully compliant with Canada’s foreign ownership restrictions and has again proven that decisively with the information we put forward to the CRTC today.”

Of course, Globalive (and Wind Mobile) is no stranger to foreign ownership rules. In April, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the case brought against WIND Mobile, tossing out Public Mobile’s complaint that the new carrier was foreign-owned.

As far as the foreign ownership restrictions go, the government has lifted restrictions on investment in firms that hold less than 10 percent of the market share with regard to revenue. The current exemption stays in place for companies that increase their market share beyond the 10 percent goalpost without merging with a rival, however. This implies that the new rules do not apply to Bell, Telus or Rogers.

Though Globalive declined to comment, it’s expected that the carrier will not back down on its earlier stance. The showdown has just begun.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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