Wind Mobile threatens to stay out of Canadian wireless auction

The Egyptian billionaire who is backing Canada's mobile broadband player Wind Mobile is threatening to withdraw from an upcoming government auction of wireless licenses unless the Canadian regulator clarifies foreign ownership rules.

Naguib Sawiris claims he was misled by Canadian regulators and is urging other international financiers not to invest in Canada.

"I tell you we will not bid--unless they set aside the frequencies, unless they really show seriousness that they want to create competition," Sawiris told The Globe and Mail. "But to say, ‘We want to create competition, we want your money.' They take our money and they leave us to the dogs."

In 2008 Wind bought $442-million in government wireless licenses and then spent hundreds of millions more building the network in major Canadian cities.

Industry Canada  has said that "foreign investment rules are being considered together with policies for upcoming wireless spectrum auctions," as part of an "integrated approach." However, it hasn't announced an official policy. The auctions are expected to take place next year.

For more:
- see this Globe and Mail article

Related articles:
Canada's Shaw chooses Wi-Fi as primary wireless technology
Canada's CRTC to hand down decision on usage-based billing this week
Canada's CRTC shores up video service delivery rules for telcos, wireless operators