New Canadian mobile firm Quebecor says it is on track to switch on its new mobile network in early 2010, defying fears that the new Canadian networks could be hit by the global financial crisis. “We intend to stay there, stay on course,” Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau told reporters in Toronto yesterday, reports Reuters. “We intend to keep our schedule.” Quebecor, a Montreal-based publishing and media group, is investing CAD1 billion (US$775 million) in building-out the new network over the next four years. The investment includes the CAD554.5 million it spent on acquiring Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum in the country in an auction last year.

Quebecor is one of several new mobile start-ups that are building mobile networks in order to compete with incumbent mobile players, Bell Mobility, Telus and Rogers Wireless. Peladeau said the firm was on track to launch in early 2010 despite the rescission and what he referred to as “resistance” from the established players. Another new player that emerged from the AWS auctions is Globalive Communications, backed by Middle East and African mobile giant, Orascom. Globalive plans to launch in Vancouver and Toronto later this year, followed by Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa in early 2010 and is targeting 1.5 million subscribers in the first three years.