Here at Cell Canada, we’ve had a great deal of interest in the new Canadian Cellular Carriers. Questions about their service launch dates, technology, pricing, and monthly service plans. Starting with Globalive, we are starting a series where we will summarize and infer what we can to help answer these questions and more.
Owner: Orascom out of Egypt has majority ownership but Globalive has controlling interest to meet Canadian foreign ownership regulations. What does this mean? It’s Orascom’s money and they are in charge. Good for competition in Canada. Orascom has about 80 million cellular customers worldwide with properties in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. That’s more than all of the existing Canadian cellular carriers (Bell, Telus, and Rogers) combined. They will not be muscled out or outspent by the incumbent Canadian carriers.
Management: Globalive is still building it’s management team. At the date of this article, active recruiting is underway for several ‘C’ level roles. The key CEO role is in place however. Ken Campbell is a Canadian with a great deal of experience with start up wireless carriers in Eastern Europe.
Marketing and Brand: Expect a no-frills consumer brand. The betting line to date is on ‘Yak Mobile’. Noticeably, Yak has shut down its www.yakmobile.com web site. In advance of a launch later in the year?
Technology: Globalive will be launching the current revision of the GSM technology train. Expect UMTS and HSPA technology similar to what Rogers has currently deployed.
Plans: Expect innovative, for Canada, low end plans: $10/month, $15/month, etc. and potentially text only plans. The recent moves by Koodo, Solo, and Fido to offer $15 plans with no system access fees are a clear indication of the incumbent Canadian cellular carriers re-positioning their brands to protect their soft flanks – where they expect the new carriers to enter.
Phones: Of course we don’t know specifics of phones that will arrive a year from now but what we can infer is that given their strong buying power (Orascom’s 80 million customers) and targeting of the low end of the market, Globalive – or Yak Mobile – will probably offer basic feature phones and low end smartphones. Expect some unique phones, perhaps more Nokia and other low end feature phones that we haven’t seen in the market to any great degree under the Bell, Rogers, and Telus umbrellas. Also expect that with their buying power, they will get some interesting phones in advance of the incumbent Canadian carriers.
When: Globalive is already building network in the major Canadian cities where it has licenses. There is a lot of work to get a mobile carrier business started and offering services. Network is one aspect but OSS systems, distribution channel, etc. all take time to put into place. Expect a launch in late 4th quater 2009 to 1st quarter 2010.
Hope this answers some of your questions. Feel free to add anything that you may have learned about Globalive’s plans in the Comments section.