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How WIND Mobile changed Canada in less than 24 hours

Published Dec 16th, 2009 1:10PM EST

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For our non-Canadian readers, it might be pretty hard to understand why there’s been so much hype about WIND Mobile finally launching. It is just a cell phone carrier after all, right? Kind of. It is a business at the end of the day, and a business hopes to be profitable (they want to make as much money possible), but the reason WIND is so brilliant is because they’re capitalizing on years of pillaging by Canada’s big three mobile providers: Rogers, TELUS and Bell. We’re not going to get into why Canada’s cellular options are so bad and expensive — Canada is a huge country, 90% of the people live within a certain amount of miles to the U.S. border, people expect coverage everywhere, it’s expensive to maintain — because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how revolutionary WIND is to the average Canadian cellular subscriber and how much money that person will save. Here’s an example of a standard Rogers phone bill for a BlackBerry:

  • $45/month for 400 minutes, unlimited calling after 9PM, and a choice of either unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling, my5, unlimited SMS, or an extra $100 minutes. Let’s assume you chose unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling.
  • $25/month for a 500MB data plan for your BlackBerry (BIS not BES)
  • $20/mo for unlimited SMS, caller ID and voicemail for a smartphone
  • Total with fees of around $93/month (excluding taxes).

Over the life of your cell phone contract of three years (yes, it’s three years in Canada), you’ll have paid approximately $3348 to Rogers, and you’d have a brand new BlackBerry 9700 for which you paid $249.99 for. All in all, $3597 before tax. Here’s a WIND plan:

  • $45/month for unlimited minutes, unlimited SMS to U.S. and Canada, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding
  • $35/month for unlimited BlackBerry data

We’re at $80/month with unlimited everything, no contract, and no fees to change plans or features.

Sure, a difference of only plus or minus $13/month might not get everyone excited, but think of it this way… you don’t have to pay $500 to cancel your contract, you can elect to pre or post-pay, and never have to ever worry about overages unless you’ve got a lot of pals overseas. The option of unlimited anything is a downright comforting thought for consumers. As long as you can get over the $200 additional entry fee for an unsubsidized but very fairly-priced handset (note: Rogers charges $599.99 for a contract-free Bold 9700 as opposed to WIND’s $450), WIND looks incredibly attractive. Plus, you won’t get tied to the tree and spanked. Metaphorically, of course.

It isn’t all rainbows and ponies, however, as we have to take coverage (when you roam on Rogers, for instance, you’ll only get EDGE as WIND uses the same AWS 3G spectrum T-Mobile uses and is incompatible with Rogers, TELUS, and Bell), customer service, and profitability into consideration. The bet is that WIND makes so much that they can continue to save you money. Funny, isn’t it? Again, they’re a brand, brand new network, but with a boatload of cash behind them, some very smart and attractive pricing, plans, devices, and services, we think they have an amazing shot. They’ve also permanently disrupted the Canadian wireless landscape for the better, and within days or weeks, you’ll start to see better pricing from red, green, and blue. Thus giving our Canadian friends something they’ve long hoped for — competition.

Jonathan S. Geller
Jonathan Geller Founder, President & Editor-in-chief

Jonathan S. Geller founded Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, in 2006. It became the biggest mobile news destination in the world by the end of 2009, and BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010.

Jonathan is President of BGR Media, LLC., and Editor-in-chief of the BGR website.

What started as a side project at the age of 16, quickly transpired into 24-hour days and nights of sharing exclusive and breaking news about the mobile communications industry. BGR now reaches up to 100 million readers a month through the website, syndication partners, and additional channels.


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