WIND Mobile CEO: Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford Network Expansion in the Works

Last week it was announced WIND Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera’s company Globalive Capital regained control of the wireless carrier, as it bought out the Canadian stake held by former parent company VimpelCom, now allowing the chief executive to control the network’s destiny.

In an interview with BCBusiness, Lacavera revealed WIND Mobile has future expansion plans for BC, aside from its existing presence in Vancouver, its second largest market after Toronto.

When asked about plans for BC, he revealed network expansion plans are in the works for Abbotsford, Kelowna and the provincial capital, Victoria. The CEO noted their network has to be great for first-time customers or “people won’t buy from us again”:

What plans do you have for B.C. specifically?

We’ve done all the site surveys in Abbotsford, but we need coverage to be much better to include them in the network. I just saw a plan for Kelowna in the office, which is a whole other market basically. It’s a market like London, Ont.—isolated, an hour drive to anything significant. Smaller than London, but geographically much bigger, so it’s a challenge because that’s the whole equation in our business. If you can put up one tower, it’s about an eight-kilometre radius around it. If you have a thousand people, that’s better than 10 people. And so the economics start to fall off. That said, we think that those markets are going to be very good for us. We already have sites on-air in Whistler. Even though it’s very small, we think it’s a good market for us. Victoria is a logical next market. But there’s no point in opening a store in Abbotsford or wherever if the network’s not great. People won’t buy from us again. We have one shot.

Lacavera noted the company has 1,100 employees but over the past two years hasn’t had a high turnover rate compared to before, a positive sign for the company. Also, customers have remained with WIND despite reports the company’s future could be up in the air. He ended with “Wind’s here to stay—for like the 500th time.”

Are you using WIND Mobile?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Kelowna is an hour drive to anything significant?

  • Jezzah

    I want to use wind. But their coverage North of Toronto isnt that great. I would jump ship from Rogers in a heartbeat if their coverage improved.

  • T33BS

    Anyone here experience the restrictions of iPhone using Wind? Such as : Visual Voicemail, iMessage/FaceTime, etc.

    I’ve heard on different occasions those iPhone listed above aren’t available and just wondering if times have changed, or am I misinformed. Wouldn’t mind jumping ship to Wind, but I need to make sure before hand; wouldn’t want to lose my “great” $75 6GB Telus plan.

  • Luc Delorme

    Unless you count Vernon as significant, Kelowna is really a 4-hour drive for any significant urban area.

    As for Wind service on an iPhone, there is no visual voicemail, and iMessage requires a bit of a hack to associate with your phone number (http://www.theonlinemac.com/windhelp)

    Wind is only compatible with iPhone 6, 5s, 5c and late-production iPhone 5 devices.

    Depending on where you are and the time of day, speeds on wind can be rather low. In downtown Ottawa, they are severely capacity-limited. at 7AM or 7PM, I can get 5 Mbits/s or more, but this often drops below 0.5 Mbits/s at peak time over lunch.

  • Tony

    I’ve been using Wind for the past 2 weeks with Wind. IMessage and Facetime works fine with Wind mobile. Voice mail works fine too. However, they are not sent through your “phone number” they are sent through your email connected with Apple.
    In terms of reception, like the CEO says you basically get what you pay for. If you have reception and you’re not ‘wind away’ the service is EXCELLENT. Some problems in larger buildings where there is no reception is expected but other than that no major problems for me yet.

  • Dr. AL

    I’ve just past a year without th Wind and an iPhone and I’ve been very happy. My plan doesn’t have voicemail, cause really when don’t I just answer my phone, so visual voicemail is useless. iMessage and FaceTime with my phone number works with the hack, which is an annoyance but manageable. And network speed is adequate when I’m not home. It’s not lte but really how fast do we need data? I’m not willing to pay for lte.

    AWS coverage sucks in buildings but that is more of an issue with the frequency wind is stuck with.

  • What’s the “hack” to get iMessage and FaceTime working?

  • pmarcovi

    SEE link in Luc Delorme’s posting.

  • So all of those steps are required to get it working? Interesting.

  • Tony

    I believe the hack stopped working in the beginning of September :/

  • Lakh Jhajj

    I tried the hav but was not successful. I contacted the guy (very decent human being) in charge of the website, he said the hac stopped working a while back. So as of now there is no way to get “iMessage” to work with your number on WIND. IT CAN WORK WITH AN EMAIL BUT NOT WITH THE CELL NUMBER.

    If WIND CEO is reading Please get this sorted out so that we can use iMessage and FaceTime with out phone number on an iPhone on WIND.

  • alphs22

    Forget north of Toronto – their reception within Toronto isn’t that great.

    Go into buildings, reception is terrible. Driving on the highways (DVP, 401), dropped calls.

    Would gladly switch back if they improve the quality of their service.

  • jabohn

    Yes, he obviously doesn’t know the area. Unless by significant he means West Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton etc.

  • pmarcovi

    The hack started working again around the launch of the iPhone 6 (September 19). I have activated iMessage successfully on one iPhone 5s and two iPhone 6…

  • Awly

    I’ve been using WIND in Victoria (with a 604 number) since August 2013. The coverage is quite good, with occasional issues and a few areas without consistent coverage. I figure they are still testing and expanding. Overall, my unlimited everything plan is an incredible value! Looking forward to the ‘official’ launch soon!