VimpelCom Ltd., the Amsterdam-based telecom company investing in Wind Mobile, has been negotiating a deal for greater control over the Toronto wireless carrier for nearly eight months now, however concerns over national security has stymied its efforts.
Canadian officials are exercising caution in approving the deal because it would mean handing to a Russian entity, control of a Canadian firm built by a Chinese company, according to a report from the Globe and Mail.
The government is also concerned that a Chinese company providing the core components of Wind’s network which serves about 600,000 wireless customers in Canada.
Huawei has repeatedly been accused by United States politicians of enabling Chinese government sponsored cyber espionage activities or sabotage of foreign communication equipment. Much has also been made of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei of being a former People’s Liberations Army member.
“Wind Mobile is proud to say there has never been a security breach (hacking, spying or otherwise) on our network.,” the statement said. “As an example of our initiative in this regard, our core network is ring-fenced with firewalls from Juniper Networks (a top tier, groundbreaking North American company with security products being one of their key strengths).”
Like all of the other major mobile operators in this market, Wind uses equipment from more than a dozen suppliers in our core network, the company said.
Industry Canada has declined to comment on the delay saying only that it remains committed to encouraging competition in the wireless sector.
Decision on whether VimpelCom could acquire full-ownership of Wind must be made before July 4. However, Lacavera’s buyout deal expires on June 30, according the Globe and Mail.