New wireless provider Wind Mobile launches new cellphone services

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - New wireless company Wind Mobile says the threat of legal action and a curt dismissal from the major telecommunications players will not shake its confidence that it will become a fourth national player in Canada's hotly contested cellphone market.
Wind, owned by Globalive, opened 18 outlets in the Toronto area, with plans to open more later this week in Calgary and in Vancouver, Ottawa and Edmonton in the new year.
"Today marks a new chapter for wireless in Canada," said Wind chairman Anthony Lacavera. "We're looking forward to giving Canadians the first legitimate choice in wireless in over 10 years."
Globalive was given the go-ahead to operate in Canada on Friday when Industry Minister Tony Clement overturned a CRTC ruling - which stated it wasn't Canadian-owned or controlled - that had prevented an earlier launch. Globalive is 65 per cent owned by Egyptian telecom giant Orascom.
Globalive already operates long-distance business Yak, which has one million customers.
Lacavera said he isn't phased by Canada's largest telecom and media union's threat to fight Clement's decision because it violates the federal Telecommunications Act.
"We don't think there's anything legitimate about that, we've created already almost 1,000 jobs," he said. "There's lots of stats out there that show when the wireless industry becomes more competitive, the GDP goes up."
The company is pinning its competitive hopes on contractless price plans, which it says reflect what Canadians really want when they buy a cellphone, when it goes up against the already established players, Rogers (TSX), Bell (TSX:BCE), and Telus (TSX:T).
Voice pricing plans range from $15 per month for a basic 100-minute-a-month option to $45 per month for an unlimited Canada-wide text and voice plan.
Separate data plans that can be bundled into a handset plan range from $10 to $35 a month. There is no cap on usage, but if customers exceed five gigabytes of data usage in a month, the company will slow their speed.
Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said the new company's offerings are not threatening to Telus, but added a team was already combing through the details of Wind's plans.
"We're not seeing anything in there that's causing us any concern," he said. "It appears that their rate plans simply mimic rate plans we've already got in place, but with the addition of some new fees."
The new company's network coverage is focused in the Greater Toronto Area. Customers will pay higher rates outside those regions, where it provides national coverage through a roaming agreement with Rogers.
Rogers, Canada's largest wireless provider, said the company is ready for new competition in Wind Mobile. Bell did not comment.
Telecommunications analyst Eamon Hoey said the big three companies should not be so quick to dismiss the new player.
"They should go and talk to General Motors Chrysler and Ford and they'll tell them how they ignored Toyota, Honda and Suburu and what happened there?"
Wind says it will attract customers because it has invested where the big three have fallen short.
"Canadians have spoken loudly that they've fallen short, so loudly that the government came out and created a policy for new competition," he said.

Organizations: Rogers, TSX, BCE Telus CRTC Orascom Ford Toyota

Geographic location: Canada, TORONTO, Calgary Vancouver Ottawa Edmonton Greater Toronto Area

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