Technology & Science

Globalive makes changes to company structure

Globalive is making a last-ditch effort to prove that it's Canadian enough to be allowed into the domestic wireless market.

Globalive is making a last-ditch effort to prove that it's Canadian enough to be allowed into the domestic wireless market.

The fledgling Toronto-based carrier says it has changed its management board structure, veto threshold and other measures to make it more independent from Egyptian backer Orascom Telecom.

Globalive's opponents — Rogers, Bell Canada and Telus — say the changes have been superficial.

The company has been working for more than a year toward launching a new wireless network, to be called Wind Mobile, but has to convince regulators that it meets Canadian ownership rules.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is holding hearings on the matter Thursday and is expected to make a ruling by Oct. 23.

Mirko Bibic, Bell's head of regulatory affairs, told the commission that as long as Orascom owns most of the equity, all the technical expertise of the new venture and all of Globalive's debt, the Egyptian company controls Globalive.

Bibic said the regulator needs to follow the money and this will lead to Egypt.

Globalive is proposing to become a national wireless carrier and plans to open up in five major cities by early next year.

Under the Telecommunications Act, telecom companies must be Canadian-owned and controlled, although there is no set definition of what constitutes control.

The CRTC review follows Industry Canada's earlier process and decision to grant Globalive Wireless an operating licence in March.

Globalive Holdings chairman Anthony Lacavera has said that he has two-thirds of the voting shares and Orascom has one-third, even though the Egyptian company owns 65 per cent of Globalive.