WIND Blows Into Vancouver

by Jordan Richardson on June 7, 2010

WIND Mobile has launched in Vancouver, kicking things off with a line-up of people outside its Yaletown store. The Vancouver launch marks the fifth (or sixth, depending on who you ask) city for WIND in its Canada-wide rollout. The new provider also has service in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa.

WIND is clearly gearing up to become a major player in the Canadian markets and the Vancouver launch was greeted with a considerable line-up of excited customers in the mood for something different.

WIND chairman Tony Lacavera was excited about launching the service on the West Coast, making an announcement at the Davie Street location and welcoming new customers to the network.

Lacavera was quick to brush off questions about WIND’s service thus far, telling reporters that he was focused on the task at hand. “We have to earn people’s business every month,” he said. “There are hundreds of Canadians every day who are voting with their feet and coming to WIND.”

WIND chief exec Ken Campbell and Lacavera have been mum on subscriber numbers thus far, but Campbell did say that next month is projected to be the company’s best to date. There’s optimism in the air around WIND and Lacavera hopes his company’s no-contract service will land more than a few curious onlookers.

The coverage in Vancouver has been drawing more than a few raised eyebrows, especially with the omission of Surrey. While some reports say that WIND will be opening up service in Surrey in the “coming weeks,” it’s hard to get a clear indication about where the network is going to stretch to. It currently remains a sticking point for some customers, as evidenced by the discussion on WIND’s blog.

Some industry analysts have also stated that coverage problems and some early price dropping served as indicators to WIND’s less-than-ideal state of affairs. The secrecy about numbers reinforces this, but Lacavera disputes the critique as part and parcel with starting anew.

“It’s not even close to true. Obviously people are leaving because we don’t put them in onerous contracts,” he said in response to questions about customers leaving the service. “If people decide that WIND isn’t right for them for whatever reason, they can take their phone and go.”

WIND certainly does have an uphill climb ahead of it, as breaking into Canada’s wireless market isn’t easy. The stranglehold of the big providers reaches from coast to coast. Public Mobile and Mobilicity are also game to stake their claim, and Shaw is on the way with its own foray into the sector.

WIND’s optimism is admirable, however, and they appear to have their fair share of supporters. Coverage issues are inevitable, especially in the early going, and WIND should be expanding their networks to meet the needs of more Canadians as the rollout carries on across the nation.

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