Startup Wind Mobile is now selling service in Ottawa, the fourth city in the country it operates in after Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. Wind has said service in Vancouver will start sometime next month.
The company, whose parent is Globalive Wireless Management Corp. of Toronto, has vowed to create a national service covering most of the country except southern Quebec. It's in a bit of a race to grab mind share before two other wireless startups launch service: Mobilicity
, the brand name of parent DAVE Wireless, and Public Mobile.
Public Mobile says it will launch service in Toronto and Montreal in mid-May, while Mobilicity hopes to start operating Toronto in the spring and then spread to Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. They insist they are aiming at different markets than Wind. Mobilicity says it will focus on cities, unlike Wind's goal of an almost-national network. Public Mobile says it will focus on so-called working-class Canadians who don't want smartphones, unlike Wind which it believes is trying to go after the kind of people buying full-service from incumbents Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp. and BCE Inc.'s Bell Canada.
Wind Mobile has the most at stake, having spent some $442 million on AWS licences at the 2008 AWS/PCS spectrum auction. Mobilicity spent almost half that for AWS spectrum that covers many of the nation's biggest cities, except Montreal. Public Mobile spent only $52 million on PCS spectrum, and while its spectrum covers Montreal and Toronto it isn't as efficient as AWS spectrum its good enough for applications like voice and text.
Still to come this year will be the new wireles service from Quebecor's Videotron cable division. Videotron has been reselling service from Rogers under its own brand, but it bought spectrum covering Quebec in the 2008 auction. Now it has a network that it can control.
However, Public Mobiile, Mobilicity and Videotron can't launch until they recieve carrier licences from the federal telecommunications regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telcommunications Commission