TORONTO — Cabinet could overturn a decision by the CRTC that prevents cellphone company Globalive from launching its service in Canada, federal Industry Minister Tony Clement says.
“We do have the power through an order of council in cabinet to amend or vary the decision of the CRTC,” Clement said Thursday after a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Ottawa is reviewing the decision by the federal regulator, which said Globalive isn’t Canadian-owned and controlled and therefore can’t serve the Canadian wireless market.
Egyptian telecom company Orascom owns 65 per cent of Globalive, but a minority of the company’s voting shares — a structure that was accepted by Industry Canada when the company’s licence was granted last March.
However the CRTC took issue with Orascom also holding a vast majority of Globalive’s debt.
Clement said the government wants to encourage competition in the Canadian wireless industry and made it clear he doesn’t agree with the decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
“The government’s policy is designed to increase competitiveness in the wireless space, and that is important for Canadian consumers because it increases choice, it increases quality and it reduces cost,” Clement said.
DAVE Wireless and Public Mobile are expected to launch their services in the coming months, while Videotron (TSX:QBR.B) is expected to get into the cellphone business in that province and in parts of eastern Ontario next year.