Wind Mobile Wants More Spectrum, But Can It Afford it?

by Istvan Fekete on June 3, 2015

New Wind Mobile Chief Executive Officer Alek Krstajic aims to talk less and do more, at least this is what he suggested during his speech at the Canadian Telecom Summit.

Krstajic took the leading role at the emerging carrier as part of a major overhaul that ushered in a new chairman and two new directors. The new leader and company co-founder Anthony Lacavera share the same goal: to emerge as the fourth wireless carrier in the country. To do that, Wind Mobile needs spectrum.

“Wind is a private company, and going forward we won’t be sharing much info or numbers,” he said on Tuesday during a keynote at the Canadian Telecom Summit. Krstajic quickly set a tone in his first public address as CEO that differs vastly from the boisterous one of the company’s founder, Anthony Lacavera.

Currently, Wind serves more than 800,000 wireless customers. As of today, another (estimated) 2 million wireless subscribers have become free as the Canadian wireless market closes the transit period from three-year contracts to (the more lucrative) two-year contracts.

The wireless startup has sought to acquire spectrum licences in areas where it doesn’t yet have coverage, suggesting that it has expansion plans, but the question is when. Now that the spectrum auctions are over for this year, smaller carriers allegedly own 25% of the available spectrum.

“We need more spectrum, as customers use and demand more data-hungry services on our network,” Bob Boron, the chief regulatory officer at Wind, asserted during the discussion. He pointed out the gaping hole in Wind’s chest of low-band spectrum, adding that securing licenses to these airwaves is “something that we need to work with regulators in terms of setting up the auction framework.”

But there is one major problem here: cost. Will Wind Mobile have the financial power to acquire more spectrum and build its own network when it has the advantage of roaming on incumbents’ network at limited cost? This remains to be seen, but Wind is currently locked down to certain areas and doesn’t seem to have the power to move forward.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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