Globalive to offer BlackBerry Bold 9700
Globalive Wireless Management Corp. announced Tuesday it will offer wireless service for Research in Motion Inc.’s BlackBerry Bold 9700 phone under the Wind Mobile brand.

 

The move comes less than a week after Industry Minister Tony Clement over-ruled the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which turned down Globalive’s application to be a telecommunications carrier due to the influence of its Egyptian partner, Orascom Telecom S.A.E.

 

Globalive, which spent $442 million last year on wireless licences from Industry Canada, is the first of eight new entrants to launch service.

 

The firm is expected to announce pricing Wednesday. 

 
Telus Corp. offers the BlackBerry Bold 9700 for $649.99 without a contract and $199.99 with three year contract.
 
“That pricing will be really critical,” said Michelle Warren, president of Toronto-based MW Research and Consulting. “It will not be competitive at over $650.”
 
Warren added it is interesting Globalive is offering a device with Wi-Fi capability.
 
A complaint from Vancouver-based Telus resulted in CRTC hearings, which resulted in the regulator denying Globalive permission to launch.
Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. also opposed the launch. 

 

BCE and Rogers have operated mobile phone service since 1985, while Telus became a national facilities-based cellular carrier when it acquired Clearnet Communications Inc. in 2000. Microcell Telecommunications Inc. which launched digital personal communications services (PCS) in 1996 using the Fido brand, was acquired by Rogers for $1.4 billion in 2004.

 
The CRTC has yet to announce carrier licences for two other new entrants.

 

Toronto-based Public Mobile had promised to launch late this year but now says it will debut in the first half of 2010.

 

Data and Audio-visual Enterprises (DAVE) Wireless Inc., also based in Toronto, spent $243 milllion on spectrum covering major cities from B.C. to Ontario, and plans to launch in the first half of 2010.

 

The fourth new entrant to announce launch plans is Montreal-based Quebecor Inc., whose Videotron cable division blankets the province.

Quebecor paid the most of any company, $555 million, for choice spectrum covering all of Quebec and Toronto.

 

It’s already in the wireless business as a reseller of spectrum leased from Rogers Communications and had hoped to be in business by the end of this year.

 

It isn’t clear how much business Wind Mobile and the other new wireless companies planning their debuts in the next few months will initially get from organizations.

 

Telecommunications consultant Roberta Fox, president of the Mount Albert, Ont.-based Fox Group, doubts enterprise-sized companies will buy service from rookie providers. Such businesses want proven, stable suppliers as well as dedicated account reps, she said in an interview, not merely low price.
 

“I don’t see that Globalive and the others are going to be able to do that right out of the gate,” she said. “It’s going to take them some time to build the service and sales infrastructure.”

 

Even for mid-size companies, shifting to a new wireless company could be too complicated, she said.

 

On the other hand, “the small business market has been very frustrated with the legacy mobility providers,” she said. “They tend to be more willing to take chances with new providers.”

 

Still, she said, the mere promise that more competition is coming has forced the incumbent wireless companies not only to lower prices to keep current business customers, but also to be more creative.

 

Recent bids for a Fox Group customer from the incumbent wireless carriers were 15 to 20 per cent less than the prices they were offering a year ago, she said.

 

Johanne Lemay, co-president of Lemay-Yates Associates, a Montreal-based telecommunications industry analyst and consultant, believes businesses will have a “wait and see” attitude. “Once they have established their networks, once there’s a better sense of have where they are at and the types of services then I think there’s a good chance some of the new entrants will focus on business markets.”
 

It’s not easy to come up with an apples to apples comparison because each carrier offers different combinations of handset subsidies, voice, data and extra features.

Telus Mobility offers “up to” 100 local minutes for $30 per month. That plan gives users a choice of 1,000 outgoing text messages in Canada and unlimited incoming text messages.

Those do not include what Telus calls “premium messages.”

Telus advertises five different handsets for $199.99 with no contract, including the LG Masterpiece, Samsung U430 and Motorola W385.
The least expensive handset advertised on the Bell Mobility Web site, without a contract, is the Samsung M230, which costs $99.95.
 
The least expensive handset available to users with no contract advertised on Rogers’ Web site is the Sony Ericsson w350a, which is $174.99.
Bell Mobility offers a plan for $30 per month for 100 local minutes, 1000 sent and unlimited received text messages, plus unlimited nights (8 pm to 7 am)  and weekends, which run from 8:00 pm Friday until 7:00 am Monday.

Data plans are separate. For $25 per month, users can get up to 500 MB of data, provided they are not using the Mobile Connect service or tethering their cellphone to a computer.

Bell Mobility also offers combination plans, with voice and data packages, for smart phone subscribers.

Rogers’ voice plans start at $30 a month for 100 minutes, plus a Government Regulatory Recovery Fee of 2.46 to 3.46 per month, depending on the province.

Users on the least expensive plan have a choice of one of four additional features, one of which is 1.000 sent text messages and unlimited received text messages per month.

Rogers’ combined voice and data plans start at $50 per month for 100 minutes, plus 500 MB of data.

Rogers, Bell and Telus all offer Apple Inc.’s iPhone. Globalive has said it can’t offer the device yet because iPhones don’t run on Wind’s frequencies.