Egyptian communications giant Orascom is planning to take advantage of Canada’s telecom ownership laws by converting its non-voting shares in Globalive Investment Holding Corp, to common shares. If approved, Orascom’s rights will increase times two, from 32% to 65.1%.
The Canadian government has eased its laws on foreign-ownership of telecom operators. Foreign investors can now own up to 100 percent of local operators as long as they have less than 10% of the market share according to the revenue. Just last year, Orascom had a successful merger with a Russian operator, VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP).
Last Sunday, Orascom said it plans to rename itself as Global Telecom Holding by the end of 2012 after a successful meeting among the board of directors. The plans will be presented to shareholders in an assembly on November.
Telecom Inventory recommends:
Rural Canada can soon look to the EchoStar XVII satellite and the Xplornet satellite communications company for affordable high-speed Internet access.
EchoStar XVII is a fourth-generation (4G) high-speed broadband satellite that entered orbit on July 5. If it properly deploys within the next few days, EchoStar XVII will be able to provide high-speed Internet acess to remote households and businesses in Canada. And its hotly-anticipated services will come at prices that can match what’s taken for granted in urban areas.
Canada now considers high-speed Internet access to be an integral part of its economic development. The country’s federal telecom regulator has instituted a “national speed target” of at least five megabits per second (Mbps) download speed for all Canadians by 2015.
However, this standard remains out of reach for 4 million Canadians (12% of the population) who live in sparsely populated communities scattered across the country’s rural regions. Installation and maintenance of wired broadband is especially expensive in remote regions.
Rural Canada has grown rapacious for affordable broadband. Both private consumers and businesses involved with the energy, mining, and health care sectors are demanding faster and cheaper services.
Ottawa has placed great importance in bridging Canada’s digital divide. And rural broadband provider Xplornet Communications Inc. seeks to bridge this gap between urban and rural regions.
Aiming to quadruple its 150,000 subscribers by 2016, Xplornet purchased the whole Canadian capacity of the EchoStar XVII. This gives the company 4G broadband coverage in British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick. That’s roughly 2 million rural Canadian households who are currently out of wired broadband service range.
Xplornet also gained extra capacity in heavily-populated Ontario and Quebec. The company intends to start hawking its 4G satellite broadband service in its new markets in November.
Among its plans? A package with 3 Mbps download speed for $50. It’s quite a massive drop from an earlier Xplornet package that only topped at 2Mbps and went for $174.99.
The EchoStar XVII’s 4G technology allows download speeds of up to 25 Mbps. Thanks to this newly-acquired satellite broadband capacity, Xplornet will be able to exceed the CRTC’s speed target.
In addition to satellite broadband services, Xplornet also provides 4G service through land-based transmission towers in the more-populated rural communities.
This is the second time Xplornet had bought out the entire Canadian capacity a 4G high-speed broadband satellite. The broadband company is currently planning to secure capacity on a third satellite set for a 2015-2016 launch schedule.
WINNIPEG - Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. reported a sharp jump in first-quarter profits on Thursday and praised recent moves by Ottawa to level the playing field for Canada’s smaller wireless players.
The Winnipeg-based telecommunications (TSX:MBT) company posted net earnings of $53.1 million, or 80 cents per share, up from $43.4 million, or 67 cents, in the same 2011 period.
Revenue slid to $435.1 million from $439.3 million.
Regional telecom company Bell Aliant Inc. has reported a rise in profit to $87-million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, saying its digital TV and high-speed Internet services helped boost earnings.
The Halifax-based company’s net earnings in the same quarter of 2011 were $84-million. Revenue was unchanged in the quarter at $682-million year-over-year.