WIND Mobile has been a long time advocate of offering unlimited plans with no-contracts to frustrated Canadians who are with Rogers, Bell or TELUS. WIND is currently sitting around the 300,000 subscriber mark and to bring in additional customers, and ease the pain of high upfront costs, they introduced the WINDTab price structure. In addition, WIND has primarily been targeting the consumer market and has recently branched out to business by launching their “unlimited business solutions”.
According to Dvai Ghose of Canaccord Genuity this fall we’ll be seeing yet another option for potential WIND customers, something that is a dramatic shift for the new entrant. Canaccord Genuity hosted an investor lunch yesterday with various WIND and VimpelCom management (WIND CEO Tony Lacavera, CFO Brice Scheschuk, COO Gianluca Corti and VimpelCom CEO of European and North American operations Ossama Bessada), in a note to his clients titled “Wind Mobile Gets More Aggressive” Ghose states that WIND might be considering going the route of device subsidies and offering postpaid contract plans this fall. No confirmation of this from WIND… here’s the complete note we received:
New postpaid plans for the fall – WIND’s focus to date has been on prepaid consumers. However, it aims to move upstream this fall with an emphasis on postpaid contract plans and SMBs with device subsidies through a tab structure, although WIND has offered tabs since the end of 2010. Unlike in prepaid, where incumbents reduced prices to compete, it may be more difficult for incumbents to reprice postpaid as this is their core, high-margin segment. Given VimpelCom’s global scale, WIND may be able to secure devices at lower prices than incumbents.
Tiered data pricing may be inevitable over time – While WIND currently charges $45.00 a month for unlimited data or $10.00 as an add-on to a voice plan, management acknowledged that with the explosion of wireless data usage, tiered pricing may be inevitable over time.
Update: I just ended a phone call with WIND CEO Tony Lacavera and he stated that “the minute Wind shows up like the incumbents is the minute WIND closes its doors”. Regarding the above statement, Lacavera said that WIND will not be introducing contracts, but will be expanding their WINDTab past the current $150, this will make it easier for people to purchase. The WINDTab has no term contract, fees or cancellation charges.