Globalive's launch puts the Wind up incumbents

17 Dec 2009

Canadian start-up mobile operator Globalive Wireless, a 65%-owned subsidiary of Orascom Telecom, has launched commercial services over a 3G network in Toronto under the ‘Wind Mobile’ brand. Customers could sign up for Wind’s services yesterday at retail outlets in the greater Toronto area, with more stores to open later this week in Calgary. National network coverage is being provided via a roaming deal with Rogers Communications, whilst Wind plans to roll out services in Vancouver, Ottawa and Edmonton early in the new year. Minister of Industry Tony Clement cleared the Egyptian-backed company to launch last Friday after ruling that it met Canadian ownership rules on the basis of voting shares, overturning a ruling by telecoms regulator the CRTC. Wind owns 30 wireless spectrum licences worth CAD442 million (USD416 million) covering most major markets in Canada excluding Quebec.

Wind is offering three simplified unlimited voice and text plans and four unlimited data plans, with monthly tariffs between CAD15 and CAD45 – with a premium voice and SMS plan around a third cheaper than comparable offerings in the market – and does not require customers to lock themselves into a contract, although they must pay the full cost of a handset upfront. Packages also carry no activation fees, no system access fees (a feature also recently announced as being scrapped by the established major operators), no charges for receiving texts or incoming long-distance calls, and no penalties for changing or cancelling a plan. The company will also provide unlimited on-net calls and unlimited province-wide calling from a Wi-Fi enabled Wind Home Zone.

Anthony Lacavera, the chairman of Globalive Wireless, said at the launch: ‘Thank you to the thousands of Canadians who have helped us to build Wind Mobile. We’ve listened to those conversations, and now we’re very proud to announce our offerings as a direct result of all the feedback. Wind is Canada’s company. Built by Canadians, for Canadians.’ CEO Ken Campbell added: ‘We’ve heard overwhelmingly that [consumers are] tired of high prices, poor service, limited technology, and complicated billing. They are tired of system access fees and contracts. Today, we’re thrilled to respond to all this feedback by presenting Wind Mobile – a company that is entirely focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience.’

Canada, Freedom Mobile