If you’re heading south of the Canada-U.S. border any time soon, Wind Mobile has a proposition for you – a $15 per month fee for unlimited data, voice, and text anywhere across the U.S.
Launching Feb. 3, Wind plans to open the add-on service to both new and existing customers. Consumers will be able to pay for one month at a time, opting to use the add-on when needed.
By introducing the new rate, it hopes to “revitalize the Canadian telecom industry” with this service, according to a press release.
“With more and more Canadians visiting the United States for work or pleasure, we know how important it is for them to keep in touch with family and friends or take care of business back home,” said Mirko Rugarli, Wind’s chief marketing officer, in a statement.
“This new add-on gives customers the freedom to stay connected to their world while travelling. Consumers will be able to use their smartphone however they like, without limits: check maps if they get lost; update Facebook and Twitter; send photos of their trip; check the local weather – and all for only $15 a month. No more headaches, no more surprises.”
The announcement marks a cutback from Wind’s previous rates, when it charged about $1 per megabyte (MB) of data. The carrier has partnered with “several main U.S. carriers,” though it declined to name them.
This is not the first time Canadian carriers have tried to appeal to consumers through lower U.S. roaming rates. In May 2013, Rogers Communications Inc. offered its customers 50 megabytes (MB) of data for about $8 a day.
Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. currently provides services separated into different categories – for example, $20 for a data travel pass of 100 megabytes, or $30 per month for 100 minutes of voice and 1,000 sent text messages. Telus Corp. charges about $15 for 15 MB of data and free incoming text messages.
Wind’s move to add cheaper U.S. roaming rates is an interesting one, given the small carrier recently lost out on its chance to compete in the federal government’s wireless spectrum auction for the much-coveted 700 megahertz band – slated to provide consumers with stronger wireless signals.
Wind pulled out of the auction on Jan. 13, just one day before the auction was to be held, as its main shareholder, the Netherlands-based VimpelCom Ltd., did not want to back its bids financially.
So while it missed out on broadening its Canadian reach, Wind may be trying to compete with other carriers by offering an aggressive deal on U.S. roaming rates.