Wind Mobile breezes into small business segment

Globalive Wireless Management Corp.-owned Wind Mobile is the first new entrant on Canada’s wireless scene to target small businesses with their services in addition to consumer offerings, with the company’s announcement of its “unlimited business solutions” yesterday.

Wind will be going toe-to-toe with incumbent carriers Telus Corp., BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada, and Rogers Communications Inc. on two fronts now by offering small businesses contract-free wireless service free of caps on talking minutes, SMS messages, and data downloaded. Wind’s base monthly fee for its new business plans is $45.

“We’ve got an offer that frankly is very appealing to small businesses. It’s taken a bit of time to ensure all elements of the proposition is going to be there and be strong,” says Ken Campbell, CEO of Wind Mobile. “We’re now prepared to extend into this segment.”

Wind first opened its doors to consumers in December 2009, the first new carrier to do so following Industry Canada’s wireless spectrum auction in 2008. Since then, Wind says it has amassed more than 100,000 subscribers and built its network out in five major cities – Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

Wind has faced adversity over its Egyptian-based financial backers Orascom Telecom Holdings (now part of VimpelCom Corp.) in recent months, with a Federal Court judge ruled that the government cabinet was wrong to overturn a ruling by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that would have prevented Wind from operating. But the Federal Court of Appeal most recently upheld the cabinet’s decision, putting Wind in the clear unless there is a challenge at the Supreme Court of Canada.

For now, Wind is turning its focus to its new business services, which Campbell says beat out the incumbents.

“We’re increasingly head to head against the incumbents. The Bell and Rogers and Telus of the world haven’t really catered well to this segment,” he says. “They haven’t recognized them as true business customers.”

Related Story: Big carriers up the ante on small business support

In a statement, Telus said it is committed to supporting its business clients with a network that offers services anywhere in Canada and great customer service and competitive pricing.

“Since the launch of our HSPA + network, TELUS has been working hard on making its services fair and transparent to all its customers (consumer and business) by simplifying rate plans, offering free data notification service that works even when you are traveling overseas for business, reducing our international roaming rates and increasing the speed of our network (HSPA + with dual cell) in key zones to help businesses have the necessary broadband to continue doing business, when away from the office,” Telus writes.

Campbell says Wind’s $45 per month plan is comparable to $100 per month plans offered by the big three carriers. A chart on Windâ

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