WIND Mobile CEO to step down after selling shares to Orascom Telecom

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Jan 182013

WIND MobileOrascom Telecom and today announced that it will buy WIND Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera’s stake in the company in a move that will also see Lacavera step down as CEO. Pending approvals, Lacavera’s holding AAL Corporation will transfer its indirect 66.7% voting share in Globalive Wireless Management Corp., operating in Canada as WIND Mobile, to Orascom. When the dust settles, Orascom will have an “indirect 99.3% interest in Globalive Wireless Management Corp,” making it Canada’s first fully foreign-owned carrier.

“As an entrepreneur, my vision was to ignite change across the wireless landscape in Canada, bringing more competition, better prices and superior service to Canadians,” said Mr. Lacavera. “And that is exactly what we did. Now that I am confident WIND Mobile Canada is on a course for long-term success, I can focus on launching Globalive Capital to make targeted investments in companies that share my entrepreneurial vision and continue to support innovation through new and emerging entrepreneurs.”

Lacavera founded WIND Mobile in 2008. The carrier went live in late 2009. Its early days were marked by a number of lawsuits and accusations that it did not meet foreign ownership rules. It has weathered all the challenges and has established itself as the country’s fourth largest network with over 600,000 subscribers. Lacavera will now turn his attention to a new initiative, Globalive Capital, and will become WIND Mobile’s Honorary Chair when the deal closes.

It remains to be seen which direction WIND Mobile will go in under its new leadership. Former Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris once said that he regretted ever getting involved in Canada. And VimpelCom, Orascom’s parent company, is also said to be “less enthusiastic about its Canadian assets.”

Are more shakeups in the Canadian telecom sector coming in 2013?

Read more: WIND Mobile and The Globe and Mail

Former Orascom chairman regrets getting involved in Canada

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Nov 172011

WIND MobileFormer Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris said in an interview that he regrets ever getting involved in Canada. WIND Mobile’s parent company Globalive received substantial financing from Orascom to help it launch in 2009. Orascom’s investment resulted in lengthy legal issues for the new Canadian carrier over its ownership status, first delaying its launch and then causing uncertainty over its ability to operate in Canada. The whole matter is now headed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Sawiris said that Canada’s reluctance to open up to foreign direct investment for foreign capital is due to “very ridiculous old laws” and adds that “There’s no real political will here to introduce competition into this closed market.” He also added that WIND Mobile will not bid in Canada’s upcoming 700MHz auction unless spectrum is set aside for newer carriers. “We would like to, but these are not fair rules,” he said. “Our position is clear: if they don’t set aside, we won’t bid for it — why would we go in and just increase the price so the government makes more money and we get devastated,” he explained.

Interestingly, VimpelCom, the company that last year acquired Orascom Telecom, is already in talks with WIND Mobile to offer more than CA$500 million to the carrier for the upcoming auction. The funding appears to be contingent on spectrum being set aside for Canada’s newer carriers.

Is this nothing more than posturing as the Canadian government decides on the rules for the 700MHz auction?

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WIND Mobile tops 350,000 subscribers

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Nov 142011

The latest Orascom Telecom financial results have once again given us an update on how WIND Mobile is doing in Canada. According to its Q3 report, WIND Mobile displayed “tremendous subscriber growth compared to 3Q 2010,” recording an increase of 156%. It now has 358,000 subscribers. It added 41,000 new customers in the last quarter alone.

WIND Mobile Canada Q3 2011 subscriber numbers

WIND Mobile’s ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) increased slightly over the past quarter in local currency but decreased slightly overall due to the devaluation of the Canadian dollar against the US one.

In comparison, Rogers Wireless, Canada’s largest carrier, added 161,000 new subscribers in its last quarter for a total of 9,288,000 subscribers.

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WIND Mobile now has 317,000 subscribers

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Aug 112011

Orascom Telecom yesterday announced its financial results for the first half of 2011. The company, which provides financial backing for WIND Mobile, now has over 105 million subscribers WIND Mobile contributed some 317,000 of those.

Second quarter indicators show continued strong customer acceptance across different market segments, increasing WIND Mobile’s active subscriber base by 17% in Q2 2011 and reinforcing its solid share of net adds. This happened in a climate of increased competition and seasonal mild growth rates in the first half of the year.

1H2011 WIND Mobile subscriber numbers

Despite strong competition, WIND Mobile’s ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) also increased to CA$27.80.

The report also indicated that WIND Mobile now has over 500 points of distribution, including some 150 WIND Mobile branded locations.

WIND Mobile today announced that it will launch in Kitchener-Waterloo on August 16th.

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