Wireless startup Wind Mobile began offering service Thursday in Edmonton, joining Calgary and Toronto since the company's December launch. Service will soon be extended to Vancouver and Ottawa. Initially, there are six Wind sales outlets in the Alberta capital, with a seventh to be added next month.

“When it comes to wireless, Canadians want value, control, and simplicity,” Wind CEO Ken Campbell said in a news release. “We've heard loud and clear that people want a mobile experience that is free of contracts, system access fees, high prices, poor service, limited technology, and complicated billing, and we have built our offering to deliver on just that.”

Wind Mobile's parent, Globalive Wireless Management Corp., spent $442 million in 2008 buying spectrum covering most of the country except southern Quebec and Nova Scotia. It expects to spend hundreds of millions more to build a national network. So far it has not said when service will start in Winnipeg, Regina, St. John's or Charlottetown.

Two other wirless startups that bought spectrum in that same auction still hope to launch by the summer. Public Mobile, which has spectrum covering southern Ontario and southern Quebec, has made no public statement yet on the status of its carrier licence from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. While Industry Canada issues spectrum licences, carriers need a licence from the CRTC, which looks into whether an applicant is under Canadian control. Among Public Mobile's investors are U.S.
fund with telecom experience. In December, when the commission started its review, it said in a letter that Public Mobile's ownership structure is “complex”, but “could hold precedential value for the industry.”
Meanwile, the commission has yet to start a review of the application of Mobilicity, whose parent is Data & Audio-visual Enterprises Wireless of Toronto. DAVE Wireless has spectrum covering the largest cities in the country including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada