Globalive chair urges public protest

This is an edited transcript of a Thursday evening interview with Globalive Wireless Management Corp. chairman Anthony Lacavera

Q: You sounded bitter in the press release
A: I’m not bitter, I’m disappointed in the decision. I think that the CRTC’s made an incorrect decision. I think that Globalive has always been a Canadian company, will always be a Canadian company and we need to be given the opportunity to bring a new wireless alternative to Canadians, which they clearly want … We have Industry Canada approval. We’re ready to launch, we built the network, the call centres, we’re ready to go, hundreds of Canadians have been hired and we need to be permitted to move forward.

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Q: What’s your next step?
A: We’re assessing our options right now. Mostly what we want is to hear from Canadians on [the company’s Web site], what they think about this situation. We started a great dialogue with Canadians on, now, and we need to hear from Canadians … The potential implication of this is they’re not going to have the new choice in wireless they’ve been looking forward to.
Q: Canadians don’t get a vote, this is a legal issue at the moment.
A: Canadians very much have a vote, I disagree with you on that. I think Canadians have a big say. This is all about Canadians. This is all about creating a competitive environment in wireless. We’re the only real competition. The incumbents know that. The incumbents have pushed for an adversarial review process and we are where we are today. We’re unhappy with this decision, and there’s a lot at stake for Canadians.
Q: Were you unprepared for this decision?
A: I don’t think unprepared. Obviously we’ve done a lot of contingency planning for all decisions and we discussed how we would deal with those. We considered this a low probability outcome, so we didn’t spend too much time in this area. That being said, we are turning our attention to it and assessing our alternatives.
Q: Will you appeal to the federal court or the cabinet or back to the CRTC?
A: I can’t discuss any of that. We’re just discussing our options.
Q: How many people are on salary?
A: We’re adding every day. Call it 500.

Q: And tomorrow, is it business as usual?
A: Look, the implication of this is new competition has been put at risk. That’s the reality of this discussion. So we’re assessing our options at this point.

 Q: All of your staff will be in tomorrow?
A: Yes.

 Q: Unless you’ve got a [carrier] licence how long can this go on?
A: Again, I can’t go any further with that tonight. We’re assessing options. I’ll have a lot more for you in the next few days.

 Q: Have you talked to Naguib [Sawiris, Orasom Telecom’s chair and CEO]
A: Yes I have, and obviously he’s equally disappointed with me, and we’re going to discuss our options. 
Q: It seems the big stumbling block is Orascom is providing virtually all the funding. And from your presentation to the CRTC was that in the short term you can’t get around that.
A: I think that’s a fair assessment of one aspect of the decision, but as I said earlier it’s a big decision and we’re digesting it. Remember, they [the CRTC] assess this control in fact is a holistic assessment. It’s not just about one point. And so this is what makes these control and ownership difficult things. And this one’s become adversarial because the incumbents don’t want to see us in the marketplace. 
Q: Was it a mistake for you to go into the [spectrum] auction with only one financial backer?
A: No


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