The Canadian wireless situation seems to be in a constant change of unrest – something that is hard for people living in the U.S. to understand or appreciate Canada’s situation. There are three players, known as the Big Three, that are not going anywhere – Rogers, Bell, and TELUS – however there are many smaller carriers, some are owned by the Big Three, but others are on their own. Two of those newer companies are at opposite ends of the financial spectrum – Mobilicity is on the verge of bankruptcy and the Government will not allow one of the Big Three to purchase them…they have made that quite clear. WIND Mobile, on the other hand, has continued to grow even with its limited capacity and funds – they actually netted higher postpaid subscribers than Rogers this past quarter. On the back of its extremely successful Unlimited USA Plan, WIND Mobile had record profits in April and May. This plan combines Canadian and American talk, text and data into a simple monthly fee.
WIND Canada’s Chairman Tony Lacavera believes that they will fare well in the upcoming months – the Government’s recent regulation of domestic roaming will benefit them and their customers. Just four months after WIND Mobile introduced its Unlimited USA plan, 30,000 customers have already signed up for it and roaming traffic has increased 100 times. Data usage has jumped from 600MB to 1.5GB per month from a year ago and over 90-percent of all devices sold are now smartphones and 85-percent of them run Android. Lacavera said:
“The reality is that the business of Wind is doing far better than has been reported by both the media and analysts. We’re here to stay, but we still have ownership challenges.”
When Lacavera mentions, “ownership challenges,” he is referring to a foreign investor Vimpelcom’s attempt to takeover that was blocked by the Government. He claims that investors are weary to make an offer when they believe the Government may step in and block the deal. WIND needs to raise funds in order to expand – they were unable to participate in the recent 700Mhz spectrum auction. Lacavera also realizes he needs to install LTE coverage for the future, but believes their HSPA+ is sufficient for most people until the time comes when they can switch over to LTE. He is also believes that WIND’s ability to attract flagship devices such as the Samsung’s Galaxy S5, LG G2 and HTC One M8 and get them the same day as the Big 3 shows how well they are doing.
WIND only covers about 14.2 million customers with hopes of hitting 15 million by mid-2015…not bad for a company that started in 2009. Hopefully, they can secure the funding they will need to expand their network, purchase additional spectrum and get their LTE network up and running. Of its 735,000 subscribers, there are 25,000 iPhone 5S devices, while Samsung has 30-percent of smartphone sales and 50-percent of its revenue. Its churn rate is down with the Big Three at 1.3-percent and its ARPU (Average Revenue Per Customer) stands at $38. WIND will not make a profit in 2014, they will likely turn one by mid-2015.
It is easy to see why Lacavera is so confident about WIND Mobile’s future and possibly they will become the fourth Big Player that the Canadian Government is hoping for…please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think about WIND’s chances…as always, we love to hear from you.