Globalive Wireless goes live

Globalive Wireless Management Corp.’s Wind Mobile cellular service opened for business Wednesday in Toronto, offering four wireless handsets plus a USB wireless data stick for laptops, with unlimited data plans and voice plans starting at $15 a month.

Although the plans target the consumer market, Globalive chairman Anthony Lacavera said Wednesday his firm has about 5,000 business customers using a hosted voice and data plan – dubbed OneConnect – that have been asking when they can get wireless services.

The business market “is a tough nut to crack,” said Lawrence Surtees, research vice-president for IDC Canada. But with wireless carriers – including Globalive – building High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) networks, companies are starting to integrate wireless with their IT services.

Surtees said Wind Mobile’s data plans – which will slow or throttle customers’ data service if they download 5 Gigabytes or more in a month – is reasonable. Wind Mobile is a brand used by a subsidiary of Globalive’s Egyptian partner – Orascom Telecom Holding SAE- in Italy and Greece.

Fewer than four per cent of users would download 5 GB or more in a month, and those who do are likely “serious porn surfers” or constantly watching videos using their cellular device, Surtees said.

Lacavera launched Globalive’s HSPA network at a news conference at Toronto’s Queen’s Quay Terminal Wednesday, and said it is currently testing a roaming arrangement with another carrier.

As of Wednesday, Globalive’s “home zone” includes the city of Toronto, most of Hamilton and parts of Peel, York and Durham Regions. It does not extend as far north as Aurora. The carrier plans to launch in Calgary Friday.

Wind Mobile’s Chat voice plan costs $15 a month, includes 100 minutes of calls in the home zone and 50 outgoing text messages. Users making or receiving calls when outside the home zone pay 25 cents a minute.

Each additional text message sent costs 10 cents, though incoming text messages are free.  

Post-paid and prepaid plans cost the same with Wind Mobile.

“We like all customers that pay us,” said Chris Robbins, Globalive’s chief customer officer.

Data plans range in price from the $10 consumer plan for BlackBerries, which has unlimited instant messaging, Facebook and MySpace, to $55 a month for mobile devices using the E181 universal serial bus (USB) data stick from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. of Shenzhen, China. Wind Mobile is selling that data stick for $150.