Canada has long been a telephone oligopoly: Rogers, Telus, and Bell Canada; Canadians generally feel that prices are high and service only so-so. Now we’ve got a new mobile player, Wind Mobile. I signed up as soon as they got to Vancouver, at least in part for reasons of ideology; competition is a good thing. So far, Wind looks like a good thing too.

Mobile network operators make it tough to compare prices, but Wind claims to be quite a bit cheaper. I’ve been paying Rogers through the nose because I got a package with unlimited US roaming, and some add-ons to (somewhat) reduce the data-roaming pain.

It turns out I can get a corporate SIM card from Google to ease the in-the-US pain; and then Wind sells unlimited calls to the US for $10/month. This is going to create some multiple-phone-numbers pain, but presumably Google Voice will make that go away before too long assuming it crosses the US border.

So far, the Wind coverage around Vancouver isn’t as good as Rogers’ — specifically, only just reaches my house — but it’s usable.

Here’s an amusing thing; while I was down at the Wind office in Yaletown, I was recognized by two people who know me from Twitter; Niamh Redmond AKA @nredmond and Hubert Figuière AKA @hfiguiere. This kind of thing is increasingly common; oddly, I hardly ever encounter ongoing readers, although the numbers suggest there are way more of ’em.

Here’s another funny thing; while I was at the Wind office signing up, two others there had Nexus Ones. Another reason that Wind is interesting to some people is that Nexus Ones come in two flavors, “A”, which works with AT&T in the US and Rogers in Canada, and “T”, which works with the AWS spectrum; T-Mobile in the US, lots of carriers in Europe and Asia, and now Wind in Canada. So if you’ve got a “T” model and want 3G coverage, Wind is your only choice.

Anyhow, if there are nasty surprises I’ll report back; otherwise the likeliest outcome is that I will (with some glee) cancel my Rogers service in the near future.



Contributions

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From: Vicki Fox Smith (Jun 06 2010, at 15:14)

Competition is a very good thing. However, until the new players are actually spending money to provide cell coverage in out of the way places, instead of only in densely populated cities, it's more of a money snatch than a competing service.

I live in a city of 90,000 about half way between Edmonton and Calgary. We won't get coverage from any of the new start ups--well, not for a very long time. Truly rural areas? Don't hold your breath.

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From: Don Walsh (Jun 06 2010, at 16:20)

Tim, you mentioned your desire to see Google Voice extended to Canada. I similarly seek Australian exposure to this great product. Is there any news on Google expanding its coverage for Google Voice?

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From: Hub (Jun 06 2010, at 16:42)

I actually knew you from your blog first (for a few years at least), then Twitter :-)

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From: Neil (Jun 07 2010, at 08:31)

Great synergy between logo and company name.

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