Wind Mobile wants to be a big player in the large Canadian wireless market dominated by Rogers, Bell, and Telus. They had aspirations of reaching 1.3 million subscribers in their first three years in business – a goal they never obtained. But like the little engine that could, Wind has slowly moved forward to become the fourth largest Canadian carrier and has finally surpassed 1,0003,469 subscribers according to Shaw’s latest earnings report. COO Brad Shaw is clearly excited by the growth of Wind Mobile’s performance. Shaw had sold its media assets to Corus Entertainment a few months ago and used some of those proceeds to purchase Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion – a move that has proven profitable for Shaw, as they now focus solely on wireless and telecom services.
Shaw and Wind Mobile unveiled plans last December for a network upgrade across Canada and made the claim that they were “dedicated to doing what is necessary to improve our network.” Wind went to work and made significant improvements to both the Greater Vancouver area and Calgary by getting additional wireless spectrum needed for better network coverage, faster data speeds, and improved call quality. This was back in April 2016, and they were pressing on to upgrade Edmonton as well according to Alek Krstajic, President, and CEO of Wind Mobile.
In December 2015, Wind Mobile signed a five-year agreement with Nokia Corporation to be its sole supplier of network infrastructure and equipment to help Wind roll out its LTE network. Mr. Krstajic said this was proof that Wind Mobile was here to stay, and with Nokia Networks as their sole LTE network provider it will allow Wind to provide their customers with some of the most advanced technologies. Brad Shaw said that all of their 3G equipment in western Canada is now upgraded to Nokia equipment. This switch increased speeds and allowed them to use additional 10MHz of AWS-1 spectrum to enhance performance.
To help make launching LTE service in its coverage areas, TD Securities, BMO Capital Markets, and CIBC is funding $425 million to help Nokia build out the LTE network. The AWS-3 spectrum it purchased in the 2015 spectrum auction will also be used. According to internal documents received by our source, Wind is “scheduled to start rolling out LTE at the end of 2016.” It will start in unknown, select markets before it rolls out to all areas of their coverage – Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.