Canadians will soon have a fourth wireless company offering services to them after the federal government has allowed Globalive Wireless Management Corp. to start operating immediately.

On Friday morning, Industry Minister Tony Clement said the cabinet has determined that the wireless company meets Canadian ownership requirements under the Industry Canada Act.

Globalive was previously unable to set up shop after the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission turned down its prior attempts, citing the fact that it was owned by Egypt's Orascom Telecom Holding.

But because most of the shareholders are Canadian, Clement argues that the Toronto-based Globalive should be considered Canadian. And the Government of Canada, in turn, has decided to vary the CRTC's prior ruling.

In a statement, Clement said Globalive "is a Canadian company and meets Canadian ownership and control requirements under the Telecommunications Act."

"We take this decision very seriously. It is based on the application of these requirements to the facts in this case."

The government says that Canadians own 80 per cent of the voting shares of Globalive and own two-thirds of the voting shares of its holding company. And at least 80 per cent of the wireless company's board of directors are Canadians.

In Toronto, Globalive CEO Anthony Lacavera said the company was "ready for action."

"It's a great day for Canadians in wireless. We could be launching as early as next week," said Lacavera.

Globalive has already hired a staff of 800, about half of whom have already completed their training in Toronto and Calgary. Many have been doing paid volunteer work at food banks, boys and girls groups, literacy groups and the Salvation Army, while they waited on a decision from the government.

When it launches, the company will operate under the Wind Mobile brand.

Wind Mobile CEO Ken Campbell says Globalive won't charge its customers system access or 911 fees. It will not offer Apple's touchscreen iPhone, but it will offer the BlackBerry and other smartphones.

Clement also said the government's goal "has always been greater competition in the telecommunications industry, which leads to lower prices, better service and more choice for consumers and business."

Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, said the government came down on the side of increased competition, which will challenge the three big players -- Rogers, Bell and Telus -- for their business.

"It's a big win for consumers," said Geist, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law.

"While some of the big three have started to make some changes, the fact that there will be another player offering up an alternative is bound to shake things up."

Bell spokesperson Jacqueline Michelis said her company was not happy with the decision and would be reviewing it.

"It's disappointing, as we think Globalive quite clearly does not meet the requirements for Canadian control," said spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis. "We'll be taking a close look at the reasoning behind this decision."

Bell Canada parent BCE's stock dropped 2.4 per cent in early trading to $27.75, while Rogers shares fell 3.4 per cent to $32.25 and Telus stock decreased 1.7 per cent to $33.10.

With files from The Canadian Press