The CBC ran a headline that’s sure to please many Canadians – “New cellphone carrier launching in 2nd half of 2009”. That new carrier is Globalive, who bought $442 millon of the Canadian wireless spectrum in the recent auction, covering every province except Québec. They aim to start next year in five cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa.
Of course, building out a national cellular network requires lots of money and IT World Canada reports that they are on the hunt for investment. $1.9 billion over a decade is the estimate of Globalive CEO Anthony Lacavera. A large chuck of the investment may come from Egyptian based telco Orascom, pending a lift of foreign ownership restrictions. For better or worse, it seems that foreign ownership is necessary at this time for mobile competition in Canada to get off the ground.
Globalive has jumped into the social media foray, launching Wireless Soapbox, a site where people can make suggestions on what they would like to see in a cellular service and vote on others suggestions. From there, they also link out to a Twitter account and Facebook page. This is a great start in customer relations, where the bar to beat the incumbants is low enough to trip over.