|Industry||Mobile network operator|
|Founded||December 16, 2009Toronto, Ontarioin|
|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|
Number of employees
|Parent||Mid-Bowline Group Corp. (Globalive)|
Wind Mobile is a Canadian wireless telecommunications provider operated by Globalive. It was one of several new mobile carriers launched in Canada after a government initiative to encourage competition in the wireless sector, alongside Mobilicity (later acquired by Rogers Communications) and Public Mobile (later acquired by Telus). With 940,000 active subscribers, Wind is Canada's fourth-largest mobile operator.
Wind 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 additional regions, the most recent being Brantford on July 3, 2014. In Western Canada, coverage was added to Edmonton, Alberta and has expanded around Edmonton to include Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Edmonton International Airport; additionally, British Columbia was also added for most of Greater Vancouver area plus Abbotsford and Whistler.
In December 2015, Shaw Communications announced its intent to acquire Wind Mobile.
- 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: Further Ontario expansion
- 1.6 2013: Lacavera steps down
- 1.7 2014: Recapitalization, investors buy out Vimpelcom/Wind Telecom stake
- 1.8 2015: Attempted merger with Mobilicity, spectrum acquisitions and transfers
- 1.9 2016: Planned acquisition by Shaw, network upgrades
- 2 Network
- 3 Services
- 4 Foreign ownership controversy
- 5 Philanthropy
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 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 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) 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 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: Further Ontario expansion
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.
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
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 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
||This section does not follow Wikipedia's guidelines on the use of different tenses. (August 2014)|
The promotional Wish plans were extended for the month of January and the first three days in February 2013. On January 18, 2012, Anthony Lacavera announced that he would no longer assume the role of CEO; he would continue to be a chairman for the company. At the same time, the company announced that it had reached around 600,000 subscribers. VimpelCom Ltd. began seeking potential buyers for Wind 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 to its competitors Bell, Rogers, and Telus as justification.
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 the company since announced it had 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 it shuts down its consumer operations, though this report was later denied by Mobilicity.
2014: Recapitalization, investors buy out Vimpelcom/Wind Telecom stake
On January 13, 2014, majority shareholder VimpelCom (which owned indirect equity in Wind Mobile through its subsidiaries Wind Telecom and Global Telecom Holding) pulled out its financial backing for Wind Mobile's bid in the Industry Canada 700 MHz spectrum auction following a dispute with 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 Corporation (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. Wind Mobile continues to license the Wind name and logo, which remain trademarks of Wind Telecom.
New CEO Pietro Cordova announced in December 2014 that Wind was engaging in planning for further expansion and development of LTE services, including bidding in the Canadian government's 2015 spectrum auctions, 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 Vidéotron Mobile's spectrum licenses outside Quebec and the unused AWS spectrum purchased by Shaw Communications in the previous auction) as well as developing agreements with other providers such as Mobilicity and Vidéotron to expand Wind's footprint. The company's new priorities also included improving the network quality in their existing coverage areas.
2015: Attempted merger with Mobilicity, spectrum acquisitions and transfers
In February 2015, the Financial Post had reported that Wind Mobile was in negotiations to take over Mobilicity in the weeks leading up to the AWS-3 spectrum auction registration deadline. The negotiations had been reportedly stalled due to the high price that Mobilicity's creditors were requesting from Wind to purchase the smaller carrier's assets. Discussions halted on January 30, 2015 (the application deadline for the spectrum auction), since both carriers had registered for the auction and anti-collusion regulations prohibited any discussion or negotiation of deals between competitors during the auction.
Industry Canada announced the results of the AWS-3 auction on 6 March 2015. Mobilicity ultimately withdrew from the auction due to lack of funding, which allowed Wind to acquire the entire spectrum block set aside for new entrants in Alberta, British Columbia, and southern Ontario uncontested. The $56.4 million bid allowed WIND to increase its spectrum holdings in areas where it offers service by 180 percent.
On March 23, 2015, Alek Krstajic, former CEO of rival start-up Public Mobile, was named CEO of Wind Mobile Corporation, and Robert MacLellan, a former executive of Toronto-Dominion Bank, was made Chairman of the Board.
On June 17, 2015, Wind Mobile became the first cellular provider to offer service in TTC subway stations through an agreement with BAI Canada, the company which owns the infrastructure that provides mobile and Wi-Fi service for the TTC subway network. The deal included Wind having exclusive rights to the underground mobile system for one year before BAI Canada would allow other providers to join the system.
Under the terms of Rogers Communications' acquisition of Mobilicity in June 2015, Wind purchased certain AWS spectrum licenses formerly held by Shaw Communications (purchased by Rogers in a separate deal) and Mobilicity for the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northern and eastern regions of Ontario for a "peppercorn" payment of $1 per license. Wind negotiated an option to pay Rogers $25 million for half of Mobilicity's cell sites and other infrastructure at a later date. Additionally, WIND agreed to swap spectrum licenses with Rogers in southern Ontario so that both companies' AWS spectrum blocks were contiguous.
These new licenses allowed Wind to increase its network capacity and the potential to develop a network across all of western Canada. However, on July 31, 2015, Wind sold several of the newly acquired AWS-1 spectrum licenses to regional telecom companies in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with Wind stating its desire to focus on providing better regional competition in the provinces where it already offered service (British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario) and upgrade its network to LTE, both of which would be funded using proceeds from the sales. All of Wind's five spectrum licenses in Manitoba were sold to MTS for $45 million, and all of WIND's six spectrum licenses in Saskatchewan were sold to SaskTel for an undisclosed amount.
Wind announced on December 15, 2015 that it was beginning a "planned cross-Canada network upgrade" starting with the Greater Vancouver coverage area. This upgrade included adding new antennas, replacing existing infrastructure with new equipment from Nokia Networks, and the deployment of new AWS-1 spectrum to improve network performance.
2016: Planned acquisition by Shaw, network upgrades
Shaw Communications announced on December 16, 2015 that it planned to acquire Wind Mobile's parent company Mid-Bowline Group in a deal worth approximately $1.6 billion. Following approval by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada) and the Competition Bureau, the deal would see current management led by CEO Alek Krstajic remain to lead Wind as a division within Shaw. Under the terms of the acquisition Wind would remain headquartered in Toronto as a "distinct unit", would remain a budget-priced mobile carrier at least for the short term, and would continue the planned network upgrade from HSPA 3G to a faster LTE network. The transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2016, pending regulatory approval. Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications, stated in an interview that the acquisition of Wind would allow Shaw to compete "at the same level" as an integrated telecommunications provider with rival Telus in western Canada and gain a foothold in the Ontario telecom market.
Wind completed the planned upgrades to its HSPA network in Vancouver in February 2016, announcing that the next coverage area to be upgraded would be Calgary.
On February 4, 2016 the Competition Bureau stated that it would not challenge the planned acquisition of Wind Mobile by Shaw, saying the transaction "is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition because... the two companies do not currently compete against each other."
Wind Mobile provides UMTS wireless services with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) for data, using its license for UMTS on Band IV. 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 was the first Canadian wireless service provider to make use of the Advanced Wireless Services 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 somewhat 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 primarily use this spectrum for their network include Eastlink and Vidéotron Mobile. Canada's three largest mobile companies (Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility) and their subsidiary brands, as well as independent regional providers MTS and SaskTel, 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, across from Ottawa, ON; Calgary, Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Edmonton International Airport in Alberta; plus the Greater Vancouver area, Whistler and Abbotsford 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. In 2015, WIND Mobile is set to upgrade its existing HSPA+ network to DC-HSPA+, which has a theoretical maximum speed of 42 Mbit/s.
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, TELUS Mobility and Bell Mobility where coverage exists. Pay-per-use charges apply for such roaming.
Wind began offering refurbished iPhones to customers starting in 2015 through a deal with Ingram Micro, the company which distributes iPhones and iPads in Canada on behalf of Apple. After learning of the deal Apple's Canadian division ordered Ingram Micro to stop supplying WIND with the refurbished devices and that doing so breached their contract. Sources interviewed by the Globe and Mail stated that the response by Apple may have been prompted by Bell Canada.
SIM cards can be used to access WIND's network with any unlocked UMTS hardware supporting AWS (UMTS band IV. 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 or Telus 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.
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. At the same time Wind introduced the "Pay-off Promise": accounts in good standing with devices purchased under the WINDtab+ agreement would have any remaining balance on their tab cleared after two years of service (originally three years prior to aligning to the CRTC Wireless Code in 2013).
As part of Wind's plan simplification during the month of March in 2012, the WINDtab+ was simply renamed to WINDtab. The amount of the subsidy depends on the device and plan chosen, though all plans continue to include 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. Wind's roaming partners include Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility 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 London 2012 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 startup 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 sued 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.
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- 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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