Chatr Launched, Carriers, Analysts Weigh In

Rogers Communications just launched Chatr, their new discount wireless service in several Canadian cities: Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottowa. Montreal will be aboard "soon."  Competing against Wind City, Mobilicity, and Public Mobile, Chatr is priced at either $35 to $45 (Canadian) per month for unlimited talk, with the higher priced plan offering unlimited text as well as unlimited talk throughout the country.  The lower-priced plan's unlimited talk model applies to calls within the caller's province.

Mobilsyrup checks in with the competition and industry analysts on the new service.  Some in the wireless biz know if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.  Flouting the "Thumper Rule" was  Mobilicity's COO, who threatened legal action last week in a letter to Rogers.

Both Wind Mobile and Public Mobile welcomed more competition in the wireless market, but Public's CEO thought Rogers had piled their plate too high.  "[Rogers] now has 3 brands and is trying to be everything to everyone. When you do that, you tend to fail serving some of those people. Public Mobile has a very specific demographic. We have low costs, due to the price we paid for our spectrum and we pass those savings on to our customers."

Jeff Fan of Scotia Capital expects Chatr to be popular with "non-data, non-smartphone wireless subscribers."

Chatr is offering a choice of four mobile phones for its service, with no carrier subsidy.  They are priced from $60 to $130.  Neither Telus nor Bell Mobility commented on the launch, but both are expected to enter the lower-cost wireless market as well.

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