Thursday, October 29, 2009

First New Canadian Cell Carrier Isn't 'Canadian Enough'

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Cellular subscribers looking for better rates and better choices in phones probably won't see it in 2009.  That's because the review of the ownership structure of Wind Wireless and it's parent company Globalive by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has found that the investment by Egyptian telecom company Orascom puts too much of the ownership of Globalive outside of Canadian hands. 

Welcoming this decision is Canada's established cell phone carriers who launched this inquiry into the ownership of Globalive.  Also welcoming the outcome of the ownership inquiry is DAVE Wireless one of the other cellular startups that will be looking to pull subscribers away from the big three.  What is still not known is how large the investment from the definitely not Canadian co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen. 

What Canada needs is strong telecommunications industry to support four, five or more national cellular carriers.  That won't happen with draconian regulations keeping some foreign support to help startups get into the business.  In Britain two of the three biggest cell carriers are French owned (O2) and German (T-Mobile) with the other one (Vodafone) under British ownership.  There the competition is more robust than what exists in Canada.

The Canadian ownership that the CRTC is responsible for defending applies more to broadcasting, so that Canadians can be seen on television and heard on the radio.  Applying the same rules to telecommunications simply allows for Canadians to get fleeced by Canadians.

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