Telus warns against letting Globalive compete

Telus is urging Industry Minister Tony Clement not to overturn a CRTC decision barring Globalive from launching a new cellphone service.

Telus is urging Industry Minister Tony Clement not to overturn the federal telecommunications regulator's rejection of Globalive as a cellphone network operator.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled on Oct. 29 that Globalive isn't Canadian-owned and -controlled, and prevented the company from launching its cellphone business. The commission's decision conflicted with Industry Canada's approval of  Globalive's ownership structure.

Telus is urging Ottawa not to ease telecom foreign ownership rules ' through the back door.'

Telus said Wednesday that "changes to the foreign ownership rules must be enacted by Parliament not snuck in through the back door."

The Burnaby, B.C.-based telecommunications company wants Clement to ignore calls to have the cabinet reverse the CRTC decision. Clement has asked for public comment on Globalive's ownership by Wednesday.

Bloomberg quoted the chair of Globalive's parent company, Orascom Telecom of Egypt, as predicting that Industry Canada would overturn the CRTC ruling. Naguib Sawiris was quoted Tuesday as telling reporters in Cairo that he believed "the ruling will be overruled."

Confusion 'embarrassing' for Canada

Also Tuesday, the CEO of another new cellphone company, Public Mobile, said the confusion over telecom ownership rules is "embarrassing" for Canada.

Alek Krstajic said in a letter to Clement that he supports the CRTC decision, but he also said the situation is unfair to Globalive.

"Orascom should not be in the position where they believed that Industry Canada approval would translate directly to approval by the CRTC," Krstajic said.

Globalive wants to be Canada's fourth major wireless carrier, competing against Telus, Rogers and Bell. It has spectrum across Canada, except in Quebec.

Public Mobile is one of several new regional players. Other new entrants in the domestic cellphone industry include Quebecor Inc. and satellite radio player Dave Wireless Inc.

(With files from The Canadian Press)