That's the Power of WIND.
|Industry||Mobile network operator|
|Founded||Toronto, Ontario (2009)|
|Key people||Anthony "Tony" Lacavera – Chairman and CEO|
|Products||Feature phones, mobile broadband modems, smartphones (Android, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone)|
|Services||HSPA (including HSPA+), IP relay, mobile broadband, SMS, TDD operator, telephony|
|Parent||Globalive Communications Corporation|
Wind Mobile (styled as WIND) is a Canadian wireless telecommunications provider operated by Globalive Communications Corporation. The company initially launched mobile data and voice services in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ontario on December 16, 2009 and two days later in Calgary, Alberta. Since then, Southern Ontario has been the main target of network expansion: first with Ottawa in Q1 2011, and then with about half a dozen of additional regions, the most recent being Woodstock on September 11, 2012. In Western Canada, coverage was added to Edmonton, Alberta; additionally, British Columbia was also added for most of Greater Vancouver area plus Abbotsford and Whistler. As of 18 January 2013[update], Wind Mobile has over 600,000 active subscribers, making it tied with SaskTel Mobility for the fourth largest Canadian mobile operator. Wind is part of a global organization with over 200 million customers as of January 2013. They operate in 16 countries globally, and have over 66,000 employees.
2008: Spectrum bid, CRTC overview and launch delays
Globalive, a Canadian company which also runs "Yak Communications", is primarily financed by an Egyptian corporation, Orascom Telecom Holding, managed by Wind Telecom S.p.A., which owns a number of other "Wind" brand telecommunications companies. Globalive bid $442-million (CAD) in 2008 to secure the wireless spectrum required for the launch of the network. Ken Campbell, a former Vodafone and Orascom executive, was named as Chief Executive Officer of Globalive Wireless in 2008. The launch of the company was delayed due to a public ownership review by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The regulatory body stated that Globalive did not meet Canadian ownership requirements. The most prominent issue was Globalive's reliance on Orascom for its debt, which stands at $508-million (CAD).
2009: Network tests, government approval, retail partnership and launch
Globalive completed its first test call on the network in June 2009.
On December 11 of that year, the Governor in Council (acting on suggestion of Tony Clement, Industry Minister of Canada) issued a final decision deeming that Globalive does meet ownership requirements, allowing Globalive to enter the Canadian market immediately.
On December 14, shortly before the peak of the Christmas and holiday season, Wind announced an alliance with Blockbuster LLC in Canada to offer Wind kiosks and prepaid products within Blockbuster stores at 16 locations, 13 in Ontario and 3 in Calgary. On December 16, Wind Mobile officially launched their service in Toronto. A launch event was hosted at its Queens Quay location in downtown Toronto.
Wind gained "close to 5 000 subscribers" during the 16 days it offered service in 2009.
2010: Robbins resigns, creation of urban networks, 100K subscribers and WINDtab
|2009-12-31||5 000||5 000||N/A|
|2010-03-31||39 441||44 441||789%|
|2010-06-30||49 441||93 882||111%|
|2010-09-30||45 799||139 681||48%|
|2010-12-31||92 960||232 641||66%|
|2011-03-31||39 018||271 659||16%|
|2011-06-30||45 341||317 000||16%|
|2011-09-30||41 000||358 000||12%|
|2011-12-31||45 000||403 000||12%|
|2012-03-31||12 364||415 364||3%|
|2012-06-30||41 552||456 886||10%|
|2012-09-30||53 598||510 484||11%|
|2012-12-31||79 954||590 438||9%|
|2013-01-18||40 000||600 000||7%|
Chris Robbins, chief customer officer resigned from Wind Mobile on March 4, 2010. Both Robbins and Wind Mobile said that the departure was due to strategic changes and the former wanting to pursue other business opportunities. Analysts assessed the change negatively speculating that an executive departure so early reflected disappointing market penetration.
On March 27, 2010, Wind Mobile officially launched their service in Ottawa. A launch event was hosted at the Rideau St location. Service was also launched in most of Greater Vancouver area and Edmonton, Alberta throughout the year.
Wind Mobile announced on August 13 that in early July, they had reached "the 100,000 mark in terms of new wireless subscribers". Orascom's third-quarter financial report, released in November 2010, listed Wind's subscriber base as 139,681.
2011: WIND CEO Campbell resigns, Court proceedings, VimpelCom, Ontario expansion and WINDtab+
On February 4, 2011, the Federal Court ruled in a suit brought by competitor Public Mobile and Telus that the Governor in Council's decision overriding the CRTC's determination that Wind Mobile did not meet Canadian ownership requirements was improper. Wind was granted a 45-day stay of the decision to file arguments. On May 18, the Federal Court of Appeal heard arguments from Wind and the federal government as to why the Federal Court decision should be quashed. The Federal Court of Appeal's decision allowed Globalive's appeal and restored the Governor in Council's order that Wind met Canadian ownership requirements. On September 19, Public Mobile entered an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
On March 17, the shareholders of Russian mobile telephone operator VimpelCom voted in support of a $6 billion deal to acquire WIND Telecom, whose assets include Orascom Telecom, a significant shareholder in WIND Mobile. The parties are now moving to close the deal, likely sometime in the first half of 2011. This transaction would create the world’s fifth largest mobile operator by subscribers – more than 173 million subscribers.
In June, Ken Campbell, the founding CEO, departed the company. Campbell had led the management team since start up, leading the build out of the company in its five major markets. He went on to be CEO at a former Orascom property, Tunisiana, the leading operator in Tunisia. Wind's network in the region of Kitchener and Waterloo (K-W) was launched on August 16, just in time for the back to school season of 2011. In conjunction with this launch, the company introduced a WINDtab+ option for Pay After customers, as well as a promotional Super Smart plan for all customers. Both services are available to all WIND subscribers in any WIND zones. Guelph coverage was officially announced on September 9 and two stores opened in Guelph by the end of the month. The St. Catharines and Welland zones were officially launched on October 15, and one store was opened in each city. The provider added more stores in October for all these regions, along with new handsets and special promotions.
The carrier launched a new advertising campaign on November 7, adopting the slogan "That's the power of WIND" and reinforcing orange as its official colour. A promotional "Oh Canada" plan was also offered in conjunction with the new campaign. Service in Niagara Falls was officially launched on November 23. To celebrate, the company offered 30 Nokia C7 smartphones at the price of $7 each at their store in The Pen Centre shopping mall. Wind plans to connect the Niagara region coverage with that of the Greater Toronto Area. The Abbotsford and Cambridge cities were added to Wind's network between December 4 and 6.London was added the following week, on December 13.
2012: Lineup refresh and further Ontario expansion
During the winter season of 2012, several new devices were added to Wind's lineup: the BlackBerry Bold 9790, a white BlackBerry Curve 9360, the Google-branded Galaxy Nexus, the HTC Radar 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S 4G. Coverage and retail stores were also added in Barrie, Ontario. Wind Mobile refreshed its plan lineup on March 1, 2012. The Clever and Brilliant plans were eliminated. Pay Your Way now permanently includes unlimited incoming calls answered when using Wind's network, while the mid-range Smart and high-end Genius plans lost their monikers and had some features changed. Only SMS messages sent to Canadian numbers are included, and all MMS or non-Canadian SMS are now pay-per-use. The WIND 25 plan includes 100 MB of mobile Internet access, while the WIND 40 plan feature 5 GB of full-speed mobile Internet instead of voice-mail.
On March 26, 2012, the Mobile Syrup blog also announced that Wind would release the Huawei U8651, Nokia Lumia 710 and Samsung Galaxy Q "in the late March or early April timeframe." These launches have been delayed to May 3, 2012 for the Lumia 710 and May 11, 2012 for the Galaxy Q and U8651. The Samsung Galaxy S III was made available at Wind on June 27, 2012.
Wind's network in Southern Ontario expanded throughout 2012. Kingston, Peterborough and Woodstock were added throughout Q3 2012. Although the carrier initially planned to add Windsor during that same fiscal quarter, these plans have been delayed. That quarter also marked Wind's decision to disable comments on its blog and to shut down its Get Satisfaction community forums in favour of Facebook and Twitter.
Small business pricing was launched in October 2012 to coincide with Small Business Week. This includes a premium monthly plan as well as lower WINDtab pricing on several high-end phones purchased with that plan. Windsor and Peterborough coverage and retail presence went live in November 2012 along with two new "Wish" customer monthly plans. Both include global SMS and reduced international long distance rates. TDD and IP relay operator services were launched by Wind in December 2012. Throughout the year, 122 additional Wind retail locations were added, and 231 network sites. The operator finished 2012 with 200,000 Facebook fans and 35,000 Twitter followers.
2013-present: Lacavera steps down
The promotional Wish plans and the $29 plan have been extended for the entire month of January as well as the first three days in February 2013. In January, Wind discontinued the BlackBerry Bold 9790, the HTC Amaze 4G, the HTC Radar and the Samsung Galaxy S 4G to prepare for new devices. The LG F4n flip feature phone was released on January 15, 2012. On January 18, 2012, Anthony Lacavera announced that he would no longer assume the role of CEO at Wind Mobile. He would continue to be a chairman for the company. During that same day, Wind reported over 600 000 subscriptions to its mobile services. New monthly plans at the $20, $30 and $40 price points were announced on February 4, 2013. Subsidies are lower than previously available plans. Pay Your Way service remained available with no changes apart from a MMS fee decrease. Wind launched the HTC Windows Phone 8S on February 14, 2013 and the BlackBerry Z10 on February 27, 2013. Wind Mobile is being put up for sale by its Amsterdam-based parent company VimpelCom Ltd.
On April 10, 2013, Wind Mobile announced that it would withdraw from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. Competitors Mobilicity and Public Mobile also withdrew from the CWTA, citing "bias in favour of Rogers, Bell and TELUS" as the main factor.
Wind Mobile provides UMTS wireless services with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) for data, using its license on the UMTS IV frequency band, also known as Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). Using this band, user equipment transmits at 1710–1755 MHz, and receives at 2110–2155 MHz. Evolved HSPA, also known as HSPA+, was activated on Wind's network during the summer of 2011.
Wind Mobile is the first Canadian wireless service provider to make use of the AWS spectrum for its network. In North America, T-Mobile USA is the largest provider to use this spectrum. Wind's use of AWS requires that customers use an AWS-capable handset, which are less common than band II and V handsets, which predate band IV by more than 10 years.
Since Wind's launch in Canada, other service providers have begun operations using AWS. Those that exclusively use this spectrum for their network include Mobilicity and Vidéotron. Canada's three largest mobile service companies (Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility) only use AWS for their LTE networks. Bell and Rogers deployed LTE in late 2011, while Telus deployed it in early 2012 while maintaining a mutual roaming agreement with Bell. Devices that support AWS LTE but not AWS HSPA+ are incompatible with Wind's network.
Currently, Wind's network coverage is mainly present in Ontario. The network in that province includes the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, part of the Niagara Region, London, Barrie, Kingston, Windsor, Woodstock and Peterborough. Outside of Ontario, Wind has coverage in Gatineau, Quebec; Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta; plus the Greater Vancouver area, Whistler and Abbotsford cities in British Columbia. Maximum theoretical speeds for mobile broadband are of 21.1 Mbit/s in most regions and 14.4 Mbit/s in other regions.
Throughout 2012, the operator will also launch service in several new cities while continuing to expand the edges and increase the density of its network in existing cities. Wind previously called their coverage areas home zones. Since the "Power of Wind" rebranding, they now use the term "our network" instead. Customers traveling outside of this network can roam on Rogers Wireless where coverage exists. Pay-per-use charges apply for such roaming.
The U2801 is a very basic candybar phone that succeeds the Huawei U1250, while the U6150 is a feature phone with a QWERTY keyboard. The latter's candybar design closely resembles that of a BlackBerry.
Previously, WIND offered the Huawei U7519, a feature phone available at launch for $130. Its price was lowered to $70, then to $35 in October 2010 before being discontinued.
Another launch device is the Samsung Gravity 2. Its original price was $150, and it was lowered to $78 before being discontinued recently. Phones sold are locked. Customers can request for unlock code after 180 days of active service for a fee of $10.
Wind Mobile offers various smartphones using various platforms:
- Android: HTC One S; various Huawei including the Huawei Ascend P1 and Huawei Sonic; LG Google Nexus 4, LG Optimus 4X HD and L9; Motorola Razr V; various Samsung Galaxy including the Note II and upcoming S4; Sony Xperia ion
- BlackBerry 10: BlackBerry Z10
- BlackBerry OS: Curve 9360 and Bold 9900
- iOS: iPhone 5 (T-Mobile USA version sold unlocked by T-Mobile or Apple) 
- Windows Phone 8: HTC Windows Phone 8S
Wind is Canada's first carrier to offer Alcatel-branded phones. The Alcatel Tribe and Alcatel One Touch 908s were previously available. Wind is also the first and currently the only provider in that country to sell Huawei smartphones.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone was available at launch, but has been replaced by the 9780, which itself was succeeded by the 9790 and 9900. Another smartphone available at launch was the HTC Maple, Wind's only device to run the legacy Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. The device was later offered by Mobilicity and both carriers have now discontinued its sale.
Wind launched its first Android 4.0 and Windows Phone 7 smartphones in February 2012. They were the Galaxy Nexus and HTC Radar, respectively. During that same month, Wind quietly discontinued older smartphones, such as the Nexus S and BlackBerry Curve 9300. One year later in February 2013, Wind released its first Windows Phone 8 device, the HTC Windows Phone 8S while discontinuing the older Nokia Lumia 710.
Phones running the Symbian operating system were previously available. The last of these, the Nokia 500, was cleared out in October 2012. Most iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone are currently incompatible with Wind's network, although the iPhone 5 released on April 12, 2013 for T-Mobile USA is compatible AWS HSPA+ networks including that of Wind Mobile. Wind informed customers to "stay tuned" for information regarding iPhone support on its network. The iPhone 5 is not sold by Wind and must be purchased by a third party.
Internet access devices
Currently, Wind Mobile sells four Huawei devices that are exclusively designed for mobile broadband: the E1691, E366, E583 and E586E. The E1691 and E366 are USB mobile broadband modems that are officially supported by computers using the Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, or Linux operating systems. The E583 and E586E are portable devices, similar to the MiFi, that allow any Wi-Fi device to connect to mobile Internet. The E1691 and the E583 can download at speeds up to 7.2 Mbit/s, while the E366 and E586E can reach speeds up to 21.1 Mbit/s
For those who already own a compatible phone, SIM cards cost $25 each. These can be used to access Wind's network with any unlocked UMTS hardware supporting AWS (UMTS band IV), such as the Nokia N900 or the Google Nexus One. When the SIM is inserted into a device supporting older GSM (2G) technology, one can sometimes access the Rogers Wireless network, regardless of whether or not AWS frequencies are supported by the device. Roaming on the Rogers network is not available in some places where Wind advertises as having their own coverage and is blocked in many of those places. Roaming fees, however, will be charged, so a payment method is required to pay these fees.
- The Huawei U1250 was a candybar feature phone sold exclusively by Wind Mobile.
- The Samsung C414 is a flip feature phone available from multiple Canadian carriers.
- The BlackBerry Bold 9700 was Wind's first smartphone and featured the operator's logo.
- The HTC Radar 4G is a Windows Phone smartphone exclusive to Wind Mobile in Canada, except for SaskTel in Saskatchewan as well as Videotron Mobile in Quebec and the National Capital Region.
- The Huawei E1691 is a USB mobile broadband modem providing a mobile broadband connection.
At launch, three personal monthly voice plans were available from Wind Mobile at the $15, $35 and $45 price points. The lowest priced plan had limited minutes and is no longer available. The latter two have been revised over the years, and remain available today with increased features and at a lower price. Various promotional $25 monthly plans were launched over time, before settling for a regular plan with unlimited local calling. Since February 4, 2013, Wind offers three monthly plans: a low-end $20 plan with unlimited local calling, a midrange $30 plan with unlimited province-wide calling, and a high-end $40 plan with unlimited Canada-wide calling. The two latter include unlimited mobile broadband with at least the first 5 GB at full speeds. Since September 2011, Wind also offers a pay-per-use plan called "Pay Your Way" with no monthly fees, deducting funds from a prepaid balance based on usage. All current monthly plans and Pay Your Way offer free toll-free and incoming calls while on Wind's network, making it the first operator in Canada to offer this feature on all of its plans. Occasionally, Wind offers promotional plans with some or many bonus features to new and existing subscribers, the most notable being the "Holiday Miracle" plan.
Small business customers received an exclusive plan in October 2012 at the regular price of $55/month. This plan includes unlimited calling to Canada and the USA, unlimited standard texting to any phone number in the world, unlimited MMS to Canada and USA, unlimited mobile broadband with at least the first 10 GB at full speeds, voice-mail and reduced long distance rates. The plan can only be obtained by a registered Canadian business.
A variety of add-ons exist to add extra features to these plans such as voicemail, a larger allowance for full speed mobile broadband, and reduced rates for long-distance calling or roaming. Pay Your Way offers a broader selection of add-ons for talk time and messaging.
Wind introduced HD Voice across their entire network on compatible handsets in September 2012.
Wind offers various data services for their subscribers. A variety of monthly plans are offered for both phones and Mobile broadband modems. A pay per use plan also exists that bills based on the amount of time data is used.
All plans contain limits as to their usage. Lower cost plans have a hard limit for data usage; customers will be billed for excess usage. Higher cost plans incorporate a soft limit; usage exceeding this limit may result in the customer's device being throttled to allow other customers fair access to the network. Throttling speeds are typically 256 kbit/s for downloads and 128 kbit/s for uploads. In what Wind defines as "extreme cases", speeds will be slower than dial-up Internet access at 32 kbit/s for downloads and 16 kbit/s for uploads. When throttling does occur, Wind will inform customers of the reduced speeds.
The WINDtab is a billing method introduced on November 5, 2010, well before the Christmas and holiday season of that year. It is very similar to Koodo Mobile's Tab payment system in that it subsidizes up to $150 off the retail price of a device by placing the amount of the subsidy on a tab balance. Like Koodo, it only works on postpaid activations, known as Pay After.
During the K-W launch day on August 16, 2011, WIND introduced another subsidy option called the WINDtab+. This increased the subsidy provided on more costly devices when combined with certain plans. Accounts in good standing with devices purchased under this agreement would have their tab cleared after three years of service. This feature is called the "Pay-off Promise".
As part of Wind's plan simplification during the month of March in 2012, the WINDtab+ was simply renamed to WINDtab. The $25/month plan offers subsidies of up to $200 while the $40/month plan offers subsidies of up to $500. The amount of the subsidy depends on the device chosen. Both plans feature the Pay-off Promise.
New monthly plans and lower WINDtab amounts were introduced in February 2013. The $20, $30 and $40 plans include a $100, $200 and $300 subsidy, respectively. For all plans, the subsidy cannot exceed the outright price of the device.
When a customer is outside of Wind's coverage, services are provided by their roaming partners. Wind's roaming partners include Rogers Wireless for Canada and T-Mobile for the United States on both roaming partners' 2G and HSPA networks. Talk and text services while connected to these two carriers are charged at pay-per-use rates.
Whether or not the customer has a roaming plan, received text messages are free throughout the world. Today, Canada's three largest wireless providers continue to charge much more than Wind for roaming in the United States. Small providers like Mobilicity and Public Mobile, similarly to Wind, offer very competitive roaming rates throughout North America.
In conjunction with the 2012 Summer Olympics, Wind Mobile launched a Europe roaming add-on and made it available to monthly plan customers for free until September 30, 2012. It allows Wind customers travelling in Europe to pay the regular roaming rates charged for Canada and the United States.
In 2009, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) complained that Wind received the majority of its funding from the foreign company Orascom Telecom Holding. The case was dismissed by Q4 of that year, allowing Wind to launch for the Christmas and holiday season. Competitor Public Mobile quickly partnered with Telus Mobility for both roaming agreements and together suing Wind for its foreign ownership. Telus later backed out, leaving Public alone to continue the lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. On April 26, 2012, the Court announced that it will not hear the case about Wind Mobile's foreign ownership. Public Mobile itself received foreign funding of at least $350 million from the Export-Import Bank of China in 2010.
Wind's philanthropic arm is called WINDthanks and has a web page at www.wind.ca/windthanks. This started during the back-to-school season of 2011 in conjunction with the Kitchener-Waterloo launch. Those living in the region could nominate a charitable project to win a $10,000 grant from Wind. The winner was MobileED, and received complimentary mobile broadband products and services from Wind in addition to the grant. To commemorate its recent launches in the Niagara region and the city of London, Wind similarly plans to award one $10,000 grant per region. The winner in the Niagara region will be announced in January 2012.
Wind Mobile advertises its products and services on the radio, television and public transit. They also have various contests where they give away promotional prizes such as sweatshirts, or a smartphone with a month of service. Such contests happened more frequently before, and while there are less of them now, Wind did a contest in May 2012 for its reopening at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
The Wind Mobile jingle is similar to that of T-Mobile USA in that it features a piano playing the C and E notes. However, while T-Mobile's jingle has five piano notes in total (C-C-C-E-C), Wind only has two (C-E). The Wind jingle is also slower-paced by comparison: after the C note is played, there is a short pause during which one clap can be heard, followed by the E note and a final clap at the same pace.
The current logo, introduced on November 7, 2011, consists of the name WIND in orange, with a W-shaped wave on top and a dot placed above the wave and the letter "I", all placed inside of a curved, parallelogram-shaped white speech balloon.
WINDmagazine is an advertising publication created by St. Joseph Media. It is available at Wind Mobile stores for customers and non-customers alike. Issues are themed after a certain word. For example, the words "heroes", "nice", and "change" were used as themes for the company's publications. Although there are 15 centre pages showcasing WIND's products and services, the rest of the magazine consists of articles related to the magazine's theme word.
- December 2009 – October 2011 : "The power of conversation." (English) / "Le pouvoir de la communication." (French)
- November 2011 – present : "That's the power of WIND."
- Globalive to keep 800 of its cellphone division employees on payroll
- Wind launches with cheaper phone rates
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