Public Mobile Nearly Almost Launches (Maybe)

by Jordan Richardson on March 19, 2010

Taking a page out of the book of the late Ted Rogers, Public Mobile Inc. has begun selling cell phone services in Toronto and Montreal and they’ve opened 25 stores. 15 of those 25 stores opened across the city of Toronto, while the other 10 opened in Montreal.

What makes this distinctive and somewhat interesting is that Public Mobile isn’t actually offering cell phone service until mid-May. In other words, customers can purchase their cell phones at any of the 25 stores but they won’t be able to truly have access to the service until Alek Krstajic’s spirited start-up turns on the juice.

Along with the store openings, Public Mobile has announced a $40 flat-rate unlimited talk and text plan – for life as long as customers sign up before May.

It didn’t take long before one of Public Mobile’s competitors to jump on the “unlimited” aspect of the claim. WIND Mobile issued a press release questioning just how boundless the service plan is, noting that Public Mobile does not offer network coverage outside of the service area and that their opening launch coverage area is much smaller than expected.

Public Mobile has yet to address the WIND Mobile press release and it’s doubtful that this will amount to anything more than a bit of scrapping among new telecommunications entrants.

It remains to be seen as to just how many customers will be keen to sign up on any rate plan before evidence can determine the worth and consistency of Public Mobile’s network and overall customer service. It seems that the company is expecting customers to go out on a limb for it, so the purported unlimited plan is the carrot to make that a more edible scheme.

It’s hard to judge any new company on the basis of a few preliminary reports, of course. As noted in a previous article pertaining to WIND Mobile and reports from the SeaBoard Group, early predictions are often off-base and difficult to gauge in terms of dependability.

There’s little difference here with the case of Public Mobile, although some of their early moves do give reason for smart consumers to pause before engaging in any sort of service plan with the company.

The so-called unlimited talk and text plan, for instance, is more than a little indistinct. Not only does WIND Mobile’s appraisal of it hold water, it’s also vague as to what the plan includes in terms of calling features and how the plan intends to bill customers with respect to those roaming charges. Public Mobile will need to be a lot clearer before it expects people to sign up.

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