WIND mobile arrives in Vancouver

Wind Mobile launched their Vancouver location at the foot of the trendy Yaletown neighbourhood today at an event punctuated by a crowd of both media and consumers eager to try out Canada’s wireless challenger to the mobile Big Four. 

 Wind CEO Ken Campbell was on hand for the opening and praised his company as the first wireless carrier to actually listen to its customers, highlighting the extensive online consultation Globalive implemented before launching their products and plans. 

 And given the somewhat weak lineup of phones on hand at the launch, the plans will be what really distinguish WIND from its competitors. For one, there are no contracts when customers sign up with WIND, and their phone and data plans are significantly cheaper than comparable plans with other carriers. 

 WIND’s voice plans consist of Chat, which at $15 a month gives users 100 free minutes, Always Talk which for $35 features unlimited province wide minutes, and Always Shout, which for $45 offers unlimited Canada-wide calls. Incoming texts are free on all three plans, but outgoing texts are only free with the Shout plan. 

 Data plans also offer an interesting mix of options. The Social plan, at $10, gives users unlimited access to IM< Twitter, and Facebook, but tops out at 50mb/month otherwise. Charged gives users 500mb per month at $20, while the Infinite plan offers unlimited data for $35. WIND execs were quick to mention that unlimited means truly unlimited, not 5 gigabytes or less. WIND will also offer an Infinite Laptop plan, which will offer unlimited data when using their 3G USB stick. 

 At present WIND is only offering HTC (using Windows 7) and Blackberry smartphones, but when I asked about Android phones, I was told, “ask again in a few weeks.” WIND will also sell a SIM to Nexus One users. They would do the same with the iPhone, but it doesn’t work on the carrier’s frequency at the moment. 

 “Everybody WINDS” is the carrier’s introductory offer for new users, slashing 50 per cent off their voice plans until June 30th. Besides the Yaletown location, WIND also has stores opening in Kitsilano and Park Royal and will be available at select blockbuster locations.