|Trading name||WIND Mobile|
|Industry||Mobile network operator|
|Founded||December 16, 2009Toronto, Ontarioin|
|Key people||Pietro Cordova
|Products||Feature phones, mobile broadband modems, smartphones (Android, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone)|
|Services||HSPA (including HSPA+), IP relay, mobile broadband, SMS, TDD operator, telephony|
|Parent||Mid-Bowline Holdings Corp. (Globalive) |
WIND Mobile Corporation is a Canadian wireless telecommunications provider operated by Globalive Communications. The company initially launched mobile data and voice services in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ontario on December 16, 2009 and two days later in Calgary, Alberta. Since then, Southern Ontario has been the main target of network expansion: first with Ottawa in Q1 2011, and then with about half a dozen of additional regions, the most recent being Brantford on July 3, 2014. In Western Canada, coverage was added to Edmonton, Alberta; additionally, British Columbia was also added for most of Greater Vancouver area plus Abbotsford and Whistler. As of December 2014, WIND Mobile is Canada's fourth largest mobile operator with 800,000 active subscribers.
- 1 History
- 1.1 2008: Spectrum bid, CRTC overview and launch delays
- 1.2 2009: Network tests, government approval, retail partnership and launch
- 1.3 2010: Robbins resigns, creation of urban networks, 100K subscribers and WINDtab
- 1.4 2011: CEO Campbell resigns, Court proceedings, VimpelCom, Ontario expansion and WINDtab+
- 1.5 2012: Lineup refresh and further Ontario expansion
- 1.6 2013: Lacavera steps down
- 1.7 2014: Recapitalization, investors buy out Vimpelcom stake
- 2 Network
- 3 Products
- 4 Services
- 5 Foreign ownership controversy
- 6 Philanthropy
- 7 Advertising
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
2008: Spectrum bid, CRTC overview and launch delays
Globalive, a Canadian company which also runs "Yak Communications", was primarily financed by an Egyptian corporation, Orascom Telecom Holding, managed by Wind Telecom S.p.A., which owns a number of other "WIND" brand telecommunications companies. Globalive bid $442-million (CAD) in 2008 to secure the wireless spectrum required for the launch of the network. Ken Campbell, a former Vodafone and Orascom executive, was named as Chief Executive Officer of Globalive Wireless in 2008. The launch of the company was delayed due to a public ownership review by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The regulatory body stated that Globalive did not meet Canadian ownership requirements. The most prominent issue was Globalive's reliance on Orascom for its debt, which stood at $508-million (CAD).
2009: Network tests, government approval, retail partnership and launch
Globalive completed its first test call on the network in June 2009.
On December 11 of that year, the Governor in Council (acting on suggestion of Tony Clement, Industry Minister of Canada) issued a final decision deeming that Globalive does meet ownership requirements, allowing Globalive to enter the Canadian market immediately.
On December 14, shortly before the peak of the Christmas and holiday season, WIND announced an alliance with Blockbuster LLC in Canada to offer WIND kiosks and prepaid products within Blockbuster stores at 16 locations, 13 in Ontario and 3 in Calgary. On December 16, Wind Mobile launched its service in Toronto. A launch event was hosted at its Queens Quay location in downtown Toronto.
WIND gained "close to 5,000 subscribers" during the 16 days it offered service in 2009.
2010: Robbins resigns, creation of urban networks, 100K subscribers and WINDtab
Chris Robbins, Chief Customer Officer, resigned from WIND Mobile on March 4, 2010. Both Robbins and WIND Mobile said that the departure was due to strategic changes and the former wanting to pursue other business opportunities. Analysts assessed the change negatively speculating that an executive departure so early reflected disappointing market penetration.
On March 27, 2010, WIND Mobile launched its service in Ottawa. A launch event was hosted at the Rideau St location. Service was also launched in most of Greater Vancouver area and Edmonton, Alberta throughout the year.
WIND Mobile announced on August 13 that in early July, they had reached "the 100,000 mark in terms of new wireless subscribers". Orascom's third-quarter financial report, released in November 2010, listed WIND's subscriber base as 139,681.
2011: CEO Campbell resigns, Court proceedings, VimpelCom, Ontario expansion and WINDtab+
|This article is outdated. (December 2014)|
On February 4, 2011, the Federal Court ruled in a suit brought by competitors Public Mobile and Telus that the Governor in Council's decision regarding WIND's Canadian ownership requirements was improper. WIND was granted a 45-day stay of the decision to file arguments. On May 18, the Federal Court of Appeal heard arguments from WIND and the federal government as to why the Federal Court decision should be quashed. The Federal Court of Appeal's decision allowed Globalive's appeal and restored the Governor in Council's order that WIND met Canadian ownership requirements. On September 19, Public Mobile entered an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
On March 17, the shareholders of Russian mobile telephone operator VimpelCom voted in support of a $6 billion deal to acquire Wind Telecom, whose assets include Orascom Telecom, a significant shareholder in WIND Mobile. The parties are now moving to close the deal, likely sometime in the first half of 2011. This transaction would create the world’s fifth largest mobile operator by subscribers – more than 173 million subscribers.
In June, Ken Campbell, the founding CEO, departed the company. Campbell had led the management team since start up, leading the build out of the company in its five major markets. He went on to be CEO at a former Orascom property, Tunisiana, the leading operator in Tunisia. WIND's network in the region of Kitchener and Waterloo (K-W) was launched on August 16, during the back to school season of 2011. In conjunction with this launch, the company introduced a WINDtab+ option for Pay After customers, and a promotional Super Smart plan for all customers. Both services were available to all WIND subscribers in any WIND zones. Guelph coverage was announced on September 9 and two stores opened in Guelph by the end of the month. The St. Catharines and Welland zones were launched on October 15, and one store was opened in each city. The provider added more stores in October for all these regions, along with new handsets and special promotions.
The carrier launched a new advertising campaign on November 7, adopting the slogan "That's the power of WIND" and reinforcing orange as its official colour. A promotional "Oh Canada" plan was also offered in conjunction with the new campaign. Service in Niagara Falls was launched on November 23. To celebrate, the company offered 30 Nokia C7 smartphones at its store in The Pen Centre shopping mall. Wind plans to connect the Niagara region coverage with that of the Greater Toronto Area. The Abbotsford and Cambridge cities were added to WIND's network between December 4 and 6. London was added the following week, on December 13.
2012: Lineup refresh and further Ontario expansion
During the winter season of 2012, several new devices were added to WIND's lineup: BlackBerry Bold 9790, BlackBerry Curve 9360, Galaxy Nexus,HTC Radar 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S 4G. Coverage and retail stores were also added in Barrie, Ontario. WIND Mobile refreshed its plan lineup on March 1, 2012. The Clever and Brilliant plans were eliminated. Pay Your Way permanently included unlimited incoming calls answered when using Wind's network, while the mid-range Smart and high-end Genius plans lost their monikers and had some features changed. Only SMS messages sent to Canadian numbers were included, and all MMS or non-Canadian SMS became pay-per-use. The Wind 25 plan included 100 MB of mobile Internet access, while the WIND 40 plan feature 5 GB of full-speed mobile Internet instead of voice-mail.
On March 26, 2012, the Mobile Syrup blog also announced that WIND would release the Huawei U8651, Nokia Lumia 710 and Samsung Galaxy Q "in the late March or early April timeframe." The launches were delayed to May 3, 2012 for the Lumia 710 and May 11, 2012 for the Galaxy Q and U8651. The Samsung Galaxy S III was made available at Wind on June 27, 2012.
WIND's network in Southern Ontario expanded throughout 2012. Kingston, Peterborough and Woodstock were added throughout Q3 2012. Although the carrier initially planned to add Windsor during that same fiscal quarter, the plans were delayed. That quarter also marked WIND's decision to disable comments on its blog and to shut down its Get Satisfaction community forums in favour of Facebook and Twitter.
Small business pricing was launched in October 2012 to coincide with Small Business Week. This includes a premium monthly plan and lower WINDtab pricing on several high-end phones purchased with that plan. Windsor and Peterborough coverage and retail presence went live in November 2012 along with two new "Wish" customer monthly plans. Both include global SMS and reduced international long distance rates. TDD and IP relay operator services were launched by WIND in December 2012. Throughout the year, 122 additional WIND retail locations were added, and 231 network sites. The operator finished 2012 with 200,000 Facebook fans and 35,000 Twitter followers.
2013: Lacavera steps down
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The promotional Wish plans were extended for the month of January and the first three days in February 2013. In January, WIND discontinued the BlackBerry Bold 9790, the HTC Amaze 4G, the HTC Radar and the Samsung Galaxy S 4G to prepare for new devices. The LG F4n flip feature phone was released on January 15, 2012. On January 18, 2012, Anthony Lacavera announced that he would no longer assume the role of CEO at WIND Mobile. He would continue to be a chairman for the company. During that same day, WIND reported over 600 000 subscriptions to its mobile services. New monthly plans were announced on February 4, 2013. Subsidies are lower than previously available plans. Pay Your Way service remained available with no changes apart from a MMS fee decrease. WIND launched the HTC Windows Phone 8S on February 14, 2013 and the BlackBerry Z10 on February 27, 2013. WIND Mobile was placed up for sale by VimpelCom Ltd. in March 2013. 
On April 10, 2013, WIND Mobile announced that it would withdraw from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. Competitors Mobilicity and Public Mobile also withdrew from the CWTA, citing "bias in favour of Rogers, Bell and TELUS" as the main factor.
On June 19, 2013, Orascom Telecom, a subsidiary of Vimpelcom withdrew its application to take full control of WIND Mobile - reversing an earlier decision. 
On June 26, 2013, the Globe and Mail reported that American provider Verizon Wireless made a $700 million offer to acquire WIND Mobile, though Verizon has since announced it has no interest in entering the Canadian wireless market.
It was reported on September 4, 2013 that WIND Mobile was in negotiations to assume struggling competitor Mobilicity's customers as Mobilicity shuts down its consumer operations, though this report was later denied by Mobilicity.
2014: Recapitalization, investors buy out Vimpelcom stake
On January 13, 2014, majority shareholder VimpelCom pulled out its financial backing for WIND Mobile's bid for Industry Canada's 700 MHz spectrum auction following a dispute between VimpelCom and the Canadian federal government. The resulting fallout led some observers to cast doubt on WIND's ability in deploying LTE services on its network due to shortfalls in its spectrum holdings.
In September 2014, Vimpelcom’s majority stake in WIND Mobile was sold to AAL Acquisitions Corp. (a holding company controlled by WIND Mobile founder Anthony Lacavera) for a fee of $135 million, with the consortium also assuming $150 million of WIND's debt. The deal received regulatory approval from Industry Canada in November 2014 and WIND's spectrum licenses were transferred to AAL Acquisitions Corp. The stake and spectrum licenses were then transferred to Mid-Bowline Holdings Corporation, a company controlled by a consortium of investors consisting of Globalive and several private equity firms based in Canada and the United States.
CEO Pietro Cordova announced in December 2014 that WIND is now engaging in planning for further expansion and development of LTE services, including bidding in the Canadian government's 2015 spectrum auction, which was not possible when the company was controlled by Vimpelcom. Cordova stated that such a plan may also include purchasing spectrum from companies that are under-utilizing it (such as Videotron's spectrum licenses outside Quebec and the unused AWS spectrum owned by Shaw Communications) and developing agreements with other providers such as Mobilicity and Videotron to expand the company's footprint.
WIND Mobile provides UMTS wireless services with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) for data, using its license on the UMTS IV frequency band, also known as Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). Using this band, user equipment transmits at 1710–1755 MHz, and receives at 2110–2155 MHz. Evolved HSPA, also known as HSPA+, was activated on portions of WIND's network starting from the summer of 2011.
WIND Mobile is the first Canadian wireless service provider to make use of the AWS spectrum for its network. In North America, T-Mobile US is the largest provider to use this spectrum. WIND's use of AWS requires that customers use an AWS-capable handset, which are less common than band II and V handsets, which predate band IV by more than 10 years.
Since WIND's launch in Canada, other service providers have begun operations using AWS. Those that exclusively use this spectrum for their network include Mobilicity and Vidéotron. Canada's three largest mobile service companies (Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility) only use AWS for their LTE networks. Bell and Rogers deployed LTE in late 2011, while Telus deployed it in early 2012 while maintaining a mutual roaming agreement with Bell. Devices that support AWS LTE but not AWS HSPA+ are incompatible with WIND's network.
The network in Ontario includes the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, part of the Niagara Region, London, Brantford, Barrie, Kingston, Windsor, Amherstburg, Woodstock and Peterborough. Outside of Ontario, WIND has coverage in Gatineau, Quebec; Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta; plus the Greater Vancouver area, Whistler and Abbotsford cities in British Columbia. Maximum theoretical speeds for mobile broadband are of 21.1 Mbit/s in most regions and 14.4 Mbit/s in other regions.
Throughout 2012, the operator will also launch service in several new cities while continuing to expand the edges and increase the density of its network in existing cities. WIND previously called its coverage areas home zones. Since the "Power of WIND" rebranding, they now use the term "our network" instead. Customers travelling outside of this network can roam on Rogers Wireless where coverage exists. Pay-per-use charges apply for such roaming.
The U2801 is a very basic candybar phone that succeeds the Huawei U1250, while the U6150 is a feature phone with a QWERTY keyboard. The latter's candybar design closely resembles that of a BlackBerry.
Previously, WIND offered the Huawei U7519. Its price was lowered in October 2010 before being discontinued.
Another launch device is the Samsung Gravity 2. Phones sold are locked. Customers can request for unlock code after 180 days of active service for a fee as of December 2, 2013.
WIND Mobile offers various smartphones using various platforms:
- Android: HTC One and One S; various Huawei including the Huawei Ascend P1 and Huawei Sonic; LG Google Nexus 5, LG G2, LG Optimus 4X HD and L9; Motorola Razr V; various Samsung Galaxy including the Note II, Note 3 and the S4; Sony Xperia ion
- BlackBerry 10: BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Q5 and BlackBerry Q10
- BlackBerry OS: Curve 9360 and Bold 9900
- Windows Phone 8: HTC Windows Phone 8S, Huawei Ascend W1
While WIND does not sell iOS phones, the T-Mobile US versions of the iPhone 5 and later (sold unlocked by T-Mobile or Apple) are compatible with WIND's network and WIND offers the necessary Nano-SIM cards to use the devices.
WIND is Canada's first carrier to offer Alcatel-branded phones. The Alcatel Tribe and Alcatel One Touch 908s were previously available. WIND is also the first and currently the only provider in that country to sell Huawei smartphones.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone was available at launch, but has been replaced by the 9780, which itself was succeeded by the 9790 and 9900. Another smartphone available at launch was the HTC Maple, WIND's only device to run the legacy Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. The device was later offered by Mobilicity and both carriers have now discontinued its sale.
WIND launched its first Android 4.0 and Windows Phone 7 smartphones in February 2012. They were the Galaxy Nexus and HTC Radar, respectively. During that same month, WIND quietly discontinued older smartphones, such as the Nexus S and BlackBerry Curve 9300. One year later in February 2013, WIND released its first Windows Phone 8 device, the HTC Windows Phone 8S while discontinuing the older Nokia Lumia 710.
Internet access devices
Currently, WIND Mobile sells four Huawei devices that are exclusively designed for mobile broadband: the E1691, E366, E583 and E586E. The E1691 and E366 are USB mobile broadband modems that are supported by computers using the Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, or Linux operating systems. The E583 and E586E are portable devices, similar to the MiFi, that allow any Wi-Fi device to connect to mobile Internet. The E1691 and the E583 can download at speeds up to 7.2 Mbit/s, while the E366 and E586E can reach speeds up to 21.1 Mbit/s
For those who already own a compatible phone, SIM cards can be used to access WIND's network with any unlocked UMTS hardware supporting AWS (UMTS band IV), such as the Nokia N900 or the Google Nexus One. When the SIM is inserted into a device supporting older GSM (2G) technology, one can sometimes access the Rogers Wireless network, regardless of whether or not AWS frequencies are supported by the device. Roaming on the Rogers network is not available in some places where WIND advertises as having its own coverage and is blocked in many of those places. Roaming fees, however, will be charged, so a payment method is required to pay these fees.
- The Huawei U1250 was a candybar feature phone sold exclusively by Wind Mobile.
- The Samsung C414 is a flip feature phone available from multiple Canadian carriers.
- The BlackBerry Bold 9700 was Wind's first smartphone and featured the operator's logo.
- The HTC Radar 4G is a Windows Phone smartphone exclusive to Wind Mobile in Canada, except for SaskTel in Saskatchewan, and Videotron Mobile in Quebec and the National Capital Region.
- The Huawei E1691 is a USB mobile broadband modem providing a mobile broadband connection.
At launch, three personal monthly voice plans were available from WIND Mobile. The lowest priced plan had limited minutes and is no longer available. The latter two have been revised over the years, and remain available today with increased features. Various promotional monthly plans were launched over time, before settling for a regular plan with unlimited local calling. On April 7, 2013, this plan was relaunched with Canada-wide calling.
Occasionally, WIND offers promotional plans with some or many bonus features to new and existing subscribers, notably the "Holiday Miracle" and the "Unlimited USA" plans. Small business customers received an exclusive plan in October 2012. This was later replaced to allow small businesses to choose the same rate plans as customers.
A variety of add-ons exist to add extra features to these plans such as voicemail and reduced rates for long-distance calling or roaming. Pay Your Way offers a broader selection of add-ons for talk time and messaging.
WIND introduced HD Voice across its entire network on compatible handsets in September 2012.
WIND offers various data services for its subscribers. A variety of monthly plans are offered for both phones and mobile broadband modems. A pay per use plan also exists that bills based on the amount of time data is used. Customers used a monthly average of 0.9 GB in Q2 2013 and 1.5 GB in Q2 2014.
All WIND customers, including those without a mobile Internet plan or add-on, can access the WINDWorld web portal and the Facebook Zero social networking service at no cost. WINDWorld consists of CBC News headlines, The Weather Network summaries for cities served by WIND, premium mobile downloads, and monthly bill payments for Wind accounts.
Mobile Internet plans and add-ons contain limits on usage. Lower cost plans have a hard limit for data usage; customers will be billed for excess usage. Higher cost plans incorporate a soft limit; usage exceeding this limit may result in the customer's device being throttled to allow other customers fair access to the network. Throttling speeds are typically 256 kbit/s for downloads and 128 kbit/s for uploads. In what WIND defines as "extreme cases", speeds will be slower than dial-up Internet access at 32 kbit/s for downloads and 16 kbit/s for uploads. When throttling does occur, WIND will inform customers of the reduced speeds.
The WINDtab is a billing method introduced on November 5, 2010, well before the Christmas and holiday season of that year. It is very similar to Koodo Mobile's Tab payment system in that it subsidizes retail price of a device by placing the amount of the subsidy on a tab balance. Like Koodo, it only works on postpaid activations, known as Pay After.
During the Kitchener-Waterloo launch day on August 16, 2011, WIND introduced another subsidy option called the WINDtab+. This increased the subsidy provided on more costly devices when combined with certain plans. Accounts in good standing with devices purchased under this agreement would have their tab cleared after two years of service (originally 3 years prior to aligning to the CRTC Wireless Code in 2013). This feature is called the "Pay-off Promise".
As part of WIND's plan simplification during the month of March in 2012, the WIDNtab+ was simply renamed to WINDtab. The amount of the subsidy depends on the device and plan chosen. Both plans feature the Pay-off Promise.
New monthly plans and lower WINDtab amounts were introduced in February 2013. For all plans, the subsidy cannot exceed the outright price of the device. Since that time, those without WINDtab can receive service credits in lieu of a phone subsidy.
When a customer is outside of WIND Mobiles's coverage, services are provided by its roaming partners. WINDS's roaming partners include Rogers Wireless and Telus Mobility within Canada; and T-Mobile and AT&T for the United States. Talk and text services while connected to these carriers are charged at pay-per-use rates unless a customer has an Unlimited USA roaming plan or add-on.
Whether or not the customer has a roaming plan, received text messages are free throughout the world. Today, Canada's three largest wireless providers continue to charge much more than WIND for roaming in the United States. Small providers like Mobilicity, similarly to WIND, offer very competitive roaming rates throughout North America.
In conjunction with the 2012 Summer Olympics, WIND Mobile launched a "World Traveller" add-on and made it available to monthly plan customers for free until September 30, 2012.
On February 3, 2014, WIND launched an "Unlimited U.S. Roaming" add-on for use on T-Mobile and AT&T in that country. The add-on was later offered for free with a regular and promotional plan. Customers could initially use the same full speed Internet allowance that they subscribed to in Canada, based on their billing cycle, but the Fair Usage Policy was later modified to impose 1 GB of full speed usage in the United States.
Foreign ownership controversy
In 2009, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) complained that WIND received the majority of its funding from the foreign company Orascom Telecom Holding. The case was dismissed by Q4 of that year, allowing WIND to launch for the Christmas and holiday season. Competitor Public Mobile quickly partnered with Telus Mobility for both roaming agreements and together suing WIND for its foreign ownership. Telus later backed out, leaving Public alone to continue the lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. On April 26, 2012, the Court announced that it would not hear the case about WIND Mobile's foreign ownership. Public Mobile itself received foreign funding of at least $350 million from the Export-Import Bank of China in 2010.
WIND's philanthropic arm is called "WINDthanks". This started during the back-to-school season of 2011 in conjunction with the Kitchener-Waterloo launch. Those living in the region could nominate a charitable project to win a $10,000 grant from Wind. The winner was MobileED, and received complimentary mobile broadband products and services from Wind in addition to the grant. To commemorate its launches in the Niagara region and the city of London, Wind similarly plans to award one $10,000 grant per region. The winner in the Niagara region was announced in January 2012.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2014)|
WIND Mobile advertises its products and services on the radio, television and public transit. They also have various contests where they give away promotional prizes such as sweatshirts, or a smartphone with a month of service. Such contests happened more frequently before, and while there are less of them now, WIND did a contest in May 2012 for its reopening at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
The WIND Mobile jingle is similar to that of T-Mobile US in that it features a piano playing the C and E notes. However, while T-Mobile's jingle has five piano notes in total (C-C-C-E-C), WIND only has two (C-E). The WIND jingle is also slower-paced by comparison: after the C note is played, there is a short pause during which one clap can be heard, followed by the E note and a final clap at the same pace.
The current logo, introduced in 2013, consists of the name WIND in orange, with a W-shaped wave on top and a dot placed above the wave and the letter "I". The wave is supposed to represent a person with two arms and a head utilizing the dot from the "I".
WINDmagazine is an advertising publication created by St. Joseph Media. It is available at WIND Mobile stores for customers and non-customers alike. Issues are themed after a certain word. For example, the words "heroes", "nice", and "change" were used as themes for the company's publications. Although there are 15 centre pages showcasing WIND's products and services, the rest of the magazine consists of articles related to the magazine's theme word, although it has been increasingly hard to find issues of WINDmagazine at local stores.
- December 2009 – October 2011 : "The power of conversation." (English) / "Le pouvoir de la communication." (French)
- November 2011 – August 2013 : "That's the power of WIND."
- August 2013 – Present : "True mobile freedom."
- Globalive Communications Corporation, the Canadian telecommunications provider that is part of the consortium operating WIND Mobile.
- Wind Telecomunicazioni S.p.A., the third largest mobile operator in Italy.
- WIND Hellas (formerly TIM Hellas), the third largest mobile operator in Greece.
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- Public Mobile v Canada (Attorney General), 2011 FC 130
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- Launch Day in KW! – WIND Mobile Blog
- $0 BlackBerry Bold Smartphones: Exclusive Weekend Sale! – WIND Mobile Blog
- WIND Mobile – Facebook
- Move Savings & More Stores in October – WIND Mobile Blog
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- Wind Mobile (February 14, 2013). "You’ve asked – we’ve listened. We’re thrilled to announce our first Windows 8 phone – the HTC 8S! go.wind.ca/WINDhtc8". Twitter. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
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