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Sunday
Aug082010

Column: Should You Switch To Wind Mobile?

By A Dawn

Wind Mobile, owned by Globalive Communications, launched its service in Canada and opened doors to new competition. Canada’s cell phone market was captured and manipulated by the big three carriers (Bell, Rogers, and Telus) for a long time. Wind Mobile’s entrance in Canadian market is revolutionary and is expected to make dents in the big three’s over-priced cellular plans. However, how economical are Wind Mobile’s voice and data plans? Should you switch right now?

Wind Offers Simple Plans

Wind Mobile currently offers these three simple voice plans:

Chat – $15 per month
Always Talk – $35 per month
Always Shout – $45 per month

It also offers an Unlimited Internet USB Stick Data Plan for laptop called Infinite Laptop priced at $55 per month. You can also add an unlimited data plan to the Always Talk and Always Shout plans for an additional $35 per month.

Update: Wind Mobile now has 2 cheaper data plans ($10 for 50 MB and $20 for 500 MB).

Wind Mobile – Need to Know

Before I go into whether you should jump into Wind Mobile, let’s look at what you need to know:

  • There are no contracts, no system access fees, no 911 fees, or any other fees.  However, the handsets are not subsidized either; you pay full phone prices upfront.
  • First month of any new Wind plan is free!
  • Wind allows you to buy just a SIM card (without a phone) and use it with your current (unlocked) handset.  But, Wind operates on the AWS band (1700 Mhz/BandIV), and a majority of phones available in North America (like the iPhone) are not compatible with this band. However, a lot of new phones (including Google’s Nexus One) do support this band.  Wind will verify if your current handset is compatible with their service.
  • Some of the big 3 have changed their basic plans to compete with Wind.  For example, Rogers now offers unlimited local calling on some of their plans.
  • Wind has amazing deals on voice plans, but if you combine voice + data, your monthly bill can be the same as (if not more than) the big three.
  • Wind offers Unlimited Wind to Wind calling on any voice plan.
  • Wind has an amazing unlimited local calling feature in any Wind Home zone.  If you’re in Toronto or Calgary (Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton coming soon) there’s no roaming charge for using your phone.
  • However, you pay 25 cents a minute for calls outside Wind home zone.
  • Another great deal for travelers: All calls made from the US are charged at the regular Wind Away Zone rate (25 cents per minute).  This is a huge benefit compared to charges from other carriers that can reach $2 per minute when you use your phone in the US.

Should You Switch To Wind Mobile?

Wind Mobile plans may look like quite a deal if you are just skimming the surface. However, if you look deep enough, you will see that some Wind plans aren’t much different than what is already available in Canada. With Wind, a premium voice plan with data added would cost approximately $80 a month. This is not very different from the other three companies, and you may be able to get better deals with the other companies if you know how to bargain with them (yes, like everything else, you can bargain with your cell phone company). For example, I have a plan with my cell phone company which is something like Wind’s Always Shout plan but only better, and I pay  around $35 a month (after taxes, all fess and everything).

If you are wondering – yes, I had to bargain with my cell company to get this deal.

My Take

Wind Mobile’s $15 a month Chat plan and $55 a month unlimited Internet for laptop plans are unbelievably incredible deals and most likely no other wireless companies in Canada can beat them.

The unlimited Wind to Wind calling feature on the $15 plan is great for students and families. 

If you are shopping for unlimited Internet for laptopand a low monthly plan, Wind is the way to go. If you travel within Canada and the US regularly, there are some excellent benefits to being a Wind customer.  If you are looking at the Always Talk and Always Shout plans, talk to the other wireless companies first and you may be able to get a better deal.

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About the author:

 

Award-winning author A Dawn is a City University of New York Economics graduate. The former Financial Advisor now works as a Data Integrity Analyst for a major Canadian wealth management corporation. He created Canada’s Personal Finance Website to make the world of personal finance easy and accessible for everyone. "
Invest Now" is author’s first book. He makes his home in the world class city of Toronto. You can read more posts at A Dawn Journal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

I'm a WIND Mobile customer and so far I'm happy with everything they've done. Yes, they have dropped a few calls, but their network is brand new and still growing.

WIND in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton are up and running.

Also, it seems unfair to compare your "special" plan with WIND's advertised plans. The comparison should be between what WIND offers and what competitors are advertising.

You completely failed to mention texting, which WIND offers unlimited for an extra $5 to their $15 chat plan. For people who text more than they talk, this is an amazing deal.

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Wind is horrible. Their sales people know nothing and when you call the toll free number they know even less! They also do NOT refund your purchase even if you are within their refund period.

The reception was horrible in downtown Edmonton with the blackberry I bought and when I complained about it and asked for my money back, they refused to refund the phone or the rate plan purchase. They did however cancel the plan immediately so I had paid for both the phone and plan and got nothing in the end. My work work phone is with Telus and I’ll be switching my personal from Wind back to Telus because it simply works!

You may save a little money with Wind but you'll be having every conversation twice because of the dropped calls. If you do decide to try and get your money back, you're out of luck!

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

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