New Canadian operator Globalive – backed by Egypt’s Orascom and trading under the Wind Mobile brand – is in talks with banks to raise money for expansion in an apparent effort to reduce reliance on billionaire Naguib Sawiris. “We’re trying to do it as fast as possible but in an orderly way,” Globalive CEO Anthony Lacavera told Bloomberg, noting that the talks should wrap up in the coming weeks. “It’s for growth, it’s infrastructure, it’s working capital, it’s network rollout and distribution rollout.” Lacavera added that the company is seeking “several hundred” million dollars and is considering bonds and syndicated loans.
The operator launched at the end of last year after borrowing US$700 million from Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom Holding SAE. Although it has launched in Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton, and plans to expand to Ottawa in the next two weeks, the operator has received criticism for its efforts to date and also been at the centre of a dispute over its adherence to domestic ownership rules. Globalive is one of five new Canadian entrants hoping to steal market share from incumbents Rogers, Telus and Bell. Public Mobile plans to launch services in Toronto and Montreal in mid-May, and Data & Audio Visual Enterprises (DAVE) Wireless recently said it expects to launch service under the Mobilicity brand in Toronto this spring. Quebecor’s Videotron has said it will start service in Quebec this summer, while cable operator Shaw Communications has said it will begin services sometime this year.