As expected, Globalive, parent company to WIND Mobile, has filed a Notice of Appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal, and an application for an extension of the 45 day stay issued by the Federal Court.
Earlier this month, a Federal Court judge overturned the late 2009 decision that saw WIND Mobile able to operate services in Canada. That decision came with a dose of controversy itself: the CRTC had originally ruled that WIND could not operate on the grounds of perceived foreign ownership (after the carrier was already granted its license by Industry Canada). But Industry Minister Tony Clement quickly overturned that decision.
It appears both Industry Canada and WIND are holding their ground; just a few days ago, the Federal Government confirmed its plans to appeal the decision as well.
"Like the Government," says WIND Chairman Anthony Lacavera, "we disagree with several aspects of the Federal Court decision, and we are confident that the Federal Court of Appeal will overturn it. Our biggest priority is to put this regulatory gaming by our competitors behind us, so that we can continue to focus on bringing wireless innovation and competition to the marketplace."
Lacavera is also quick to point out that the judge's decision doesn't have so much to do with WIND's ownership structure as it does with Cabinet making two errors in explaining its rationale and characterizing the decision.
"The Government and Globalive have always agreed that we are fully compliant with the existing rules, and the Federal Court did not suggest otherwise," he clarifies. "We fully expect to prevail at the Court of Appeal."
WIND Mobile is 65% owned by Egyptian communications billionaire Naguib Sawiris, but Lacavera says he holds the majority of the voting shares for the company. Competitors, including Public Mobile and Telus, which both prompted the court decision, claim that they aren't against foreign ownership, but feel that the same rules should apply to all. According to those firms, they were unable to secure foreign investments due to the current Canadian regulatory landscape. Yet it appears WIND was able to find a loophole and gain significant backing from Sawiris. Lacavera is adamant that the company, which also owns the Yak brand of Internet service, is strongly Canadian.
Anthony Lacavera, Chairman of WIND Mobile, addresses the crowds at the wireless carrier's Toronto, ON launch event in late 2009.