In Early November, I reported that 2011 has been a good year for Wind Mobile. It added 39,000 new mobile phone subscribers in Q1 2011 and another 45,000 customers in the second quarter, thereby staking its claim to be the “fastest growing wireless carrier in Canada” with a combined user base of over 300,000.
Despite the departure of ex-CEO Ken Campbell, there were plenty of positives for Wind as it won a long legal battle in the Federal Court and signed a three-year contract with Allstream for IP Connectivity services to expand its existing network. However, earlier this week, Wind set the alarm bells ringing by threatening to pull out of a coming government auction of wireless licences unless Ottawa sets some aside for new competitors and clarifies foreign ownership rules.
While the standoff over spectrum allocation continues, Wind yesterday launched its wireless phone service in the St. Catharines-Niagara region of Ontario. The carrier also announced the WINDthanks Niagara Region Community Grant – a $10,000 grant to one organization or charity in St. Catharines, Welland or Niagara to support a new or existing project that brings positive change to the community.
Wind’s entry into the Niagara region assumes significance due to several reasons. For a start, Anthony Lacavera is a Niagara native and he’d love to set the record straight against the ‘Big Three’ carriers on his so-called home ground. Secondly, it’s a significant step forward for Wind’s transformation from a regional carrier to a national player. Wind’s service now covers seven markets across Canada including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Kitchener / Waterloo and Toronto.
“The launch in the Niagara region is especially meaningful to me because it’s where I’m from,” said Anthony Lacavera, Chairman and CEO of WIND Mobile. “It was always my ambition to bring wireless competition to all Canadians so being able to bring it to the area where I grew up shows me how much closer we are to accomplishing our goal.”
As shown in the coverage map, service availability would be somewhat limited to areas around St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls. Lacavera says Wind plans to expand coverage in the coming months. He says he feels “really great” about what Wind Mobile has done over the last two years. He claims that his company provides the first independent “cost-effective choice in wireless” in Canada.
To celebrate its coverage milestones in St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls, Wind yesterday held a special event its store in the Pen Centre in St. Catharines and gave away 35 contract-free Nokia C7’s for just $7 in honour of the launch of its seventh market.