Jaret Manuel

Welcome to Canada Mr. Sawaris... That Is if We Don't Screw It Up!

Well for those who are visiting this site, thank you and hopefully you will get something out of it even if it is just a small tidbit regarding business, start-ups, or you leave (and you better come back) with a laugh.  As most of you know the Canadian government opened up an auction to sell off licenses for more wireless spectrum in an attempt to add much needed competition to the marketplace and add money to their coffers (a paltry $4.2bil).  Incumbent carriers (Bell, Telus, Rogers) were only allowed to bid on 40% (I think) of what was being offered and the rest was open to newcomers.  I had the good fortune to work for Globalive communications (the owners of Yak, and several other niche telco brands) a few years back so I have a curiosity in how this will play out (disclaimer: I am not a shareholder and nobody has a clue that I am making this post).  Globalive managed to pick up licenses to cover all provinces (29 or 30 in total), except Quebec, which essentially will make Globalive Canada’s next national wireless phone carrier. But wait a minute… we are going to do everything possible to screw it up.  I say we as in us Canadians.  We live in the best country in the world.  It is the best by our very nature of character, people, values, and by the land and resources we have been fortunate to live on, etc…  it is an amazing country.  Need I say more? So why is it that we are such a terrible place for innovation, new business, and competition? You see the big boys on the block are pissed or should I say scared that their friendly we won’t rock the boat too much competition could very well change and because of that they are complaining that Globalive’s ownership structure is non compliant with respect to foreign ownership rules.  Further, the CRTC/Industry Canada has rules in place that Canadian Telco’s have to be domestically controlled, and big bad Telus, Bell, and Rogers are complaining and I understand because I would do the same.  It’s business. Business is war but it is also war for the consumer and as such, this country is down right pathetic for cell phone plans and innovation at large. To add insult to injury we have the most expensive plans in the industrialized world.  Come on Canada, WAKE UP! Yes that includes our Canadian Government and its agencies, however that will be more difficult because they are in a complete coma with little hope of survival when it comes to spurring innovation or caring to do anything (we are a leaderless government with no immediate challengers!).  So Globalive gets the government stamp and is cleared on the foreign ownership rules (more on its ownership in a minute) and the big bad boys are crying that the current structure is botched.  What’s wrong?  The current structure from public knowledge goes like this: Anthony Lacavera is Globalive’s Founder and CEO, and he would have a 35% equity stake in the wireless entity while Egypt’s Orascom Telecom would have 65% Equity, however this structure is non-voting, where the voting shares would be controlled by Mr. Lacavera and in essence making Globalive a Canadian controlled company and government compliant. Personally, I don’t care if Santa Claus runs the show, just give us Canadians some good competition. I know it is hard as we live in the world’s second largest country by land mass and we are spread out as scarce as hen’s teeth (hen’s have no teeth for those who don’t get it) but that doesn’t mean we have to damage something potentially great before it starts.  So Anthony (I know him as Tony so I find this weird) is a go getter, I mean he is the I’m coming get out of the way type go getter and we need more Tony’s in Canada to actually produce change and innovation worthwhile.  Sure he may sell out in 5 years or whatever, but he has to make it there first so let’s focus on the innovation, and at least let him and others in the cage to face the fight even if they have pebbles to start with.  I am sure Tony and team made many efforts to raise Canadian capital but this is Canada people, and when it comes to business or advancement we all know how to swim but we stay in the boat while the rest of the world tests the waters by diving in.  So of course Canadian capital would fall short of the $470+ mil auction costs and the operating capital to build a team of skilled workers and the $1 bil + infrastructure (I am guessing… probably closer to $2bil), etc etc.  So what does Tony do?… he does what he knows best and he makes it happen.  So enter into the picture Orascom Telecom out of Egypt owned by multi billionare Naguib Sawaris and their wireless carrier experience of 90 million and growing users in the Middle east and Asia.  Is Mr. Sawaris the new owner of Globalive or is Anthony Lacavera? Well rules indicate that Globalive and Mr. Lacavera are compliant but who cares?  Really, do you really want to be gouged by an oligopoly that doesn’t care about you?  I am confident consumers like myself are all for competition so lets give the new guys a shot.  Not just Globalive, but everyone…  put your gloves on and fight and if you are good, then the consumers will side with you because enough is enough. For the record, I am not against Bell, Telus, and Rogers, however I am against squashing competition unfairly, and Canada by our own nature is good at ruining innovation before it starts.  I understand the devil is in the details but this is another ploy for the big three to hamper Globalive’s operating capital by delaying the process of them going live.  It is time for change, so Mr. Sawaris, welcome to Canada and thank you for taking a chance on this great country of ours and I wish you luck in your endeavour with Mr. Lacavera and the Globalive crew.  If someone is going to lead this Canadian entity, then I can think of nobody that is better then Tony as he does more work while he sleeps then most people do in a week and is only 35 years young.  Globalive actually understands where things are going, all while realizing they are very small but they are listening to what people want in a new carrier with their Wireless Soapbox blog. Here is Tony on the Business News Network, and at last but not least here is an interview with Mr. Sawaris and Charlie Rose so you can get to know Canada’s new major telco backer.

Welcome to Canada Mr. Sawaris.  It is long over due… that is if we don’t screw it up!

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