Globalive Holdings, which bought wireless spectrum in a government auction last year with the aim of launching a national mobile-device network, said Monday it will sell its services under a European brand called Wind.
"Wind is an established and growing brand with a successful history of over 10 years in two large European markets, and Canadians will benefit from the economies of scale of this relationship," Anthony Lacavera, chairman of Globalive Holdings, said in a news release.
The Toronto-based company also said it is also looking to fill 300 customer service positions immediately and up to 2,000 more in a variety of posts over the next year.
Globalive is one of a number of new entrants expected to join the wireless market in the next year to compete with established national players Rogers, Bell and Telus.
The company said it is expecting to launch its network in a few markets in late 2009 and across the rest of Canada in 2010. Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA has 16.9 million mobile subscribers in Italy and 5.2 million mobile customers in Greece. It is controlled by Egypt's Sawiris family, which is also backing Globalive through Orascom Telecom Holding SAE.
The nature of Globalive's relationship with Orascom has been the subject of scrutiny since Globalive successfully bid $442 million last year to purchase wireless spectrum across Canada. Foreign ownership of telecommunications firms in Canada is limited to 20 per cent of the voting shares of an operating company and one-third for a holding company.
Industry Canada approved Globalive's ownership, but in April, Telus and Shaw Communications called on the CRTC to make that review process more transparent and "immediately initiate" a review of Globalive.
The CRTC is planning to hold a two-day hearing in September to review the complex corporate structure and financial arrangements of Globalive and is expected to reach a decision within 30 days of the hearing.
Globalive is one of three new entrants to the wireless industry that are expected to launch their networks across Canada in the next year.
Public Mobile, backed by several private-equity firms, has said it plans to launch a $40 unlimited talk-and-text service in Ontario and Quebec late in the third quarter of 2009, building its network from Windsor to Quebec City using a block of spectrum it acquired at the auction that other players, including the incumbents, chose to ignore.
Toronto-based Data & Audio Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc., or DAVE Wireless, a company headed by entrepreneur John Bitove, has said it plans to launch service in early 2010 for Toronto and expand to other cities shortly thereafter.