Feature Article

January 31, 2014

Wind Mobile Undercuts Competitors with Low-Cost US Roaming Plan

For most of the U.S., Wind Mobile isn’t anything more than one of two Canadian telecom companies that Verizon was rumored to be interested in acquiring last summer. For Canadians, however, Wind is a very important, though small, player in the country’s telecommunications industry. The carrier offers plans unheard of from Canada’s big three wireless companies — Bell, Rogers and Telus — that feature unlimited talk, texting and data with pricing well below that of the competition.

Now, according to Reuters, the wireless carrier is looking to get competitive beyond Canada with the introduction of a new low-cost unlimited U.S. roaming plan. For only C$15 per month (roughly US$13.50), Wind customers can get unlimited data, talk and text while traveling in the United States. Again, this is pricing well below of that offered by Canada’s big three.

"While wireless prices in the Canadian marketplace remain very high, we at Wind Mobile continue to challenge expectations and offer our customers real value," said Wind COO, Pietro Cordova, in a statement.

For Wind — and its parent company, Vimpelcom — the strategy is clear: Undercut Rogers, Bell and Telus in the hopes of attracting more subscribers. However, Canadians are also hoping this move will force the larger carriers to re-evaluate their pricing as well.

Although this hasn’t really been the case as far as local plans go, Wind Mobile and the big three and are fighting on more even ground in the U.S. since the latter can’t really justify higher pricing by pointing to Wind’s limited coverage. As such, Rogers charging C$300 for 500 minutes of talk time, 1GB of data and unlimited texting while south of the border seems faintly ridiculous in the face of Wind’s new offering. Even more reasonably priced plans — like Telus’ C$65 U.S. travel add-on that includes 300 minutes of talk, 300MB of data and unlimited texting — don’t compare favorably.

It’s unlikely Wind will be able to turn its new U.S. roaming plan into more subscribers but, at the very least, it’s another option for Canadian wireless users who are used to being left out in the cold.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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