WIND is Here!

Well the long wait is finally over. After some very dramatic overruling of the CRTC by Tony Clement, WIND is now in the market and has launched their products. The prices and concepts are impressive as expected, but the service of course is less than inspiring: for now.

Right now WIND is operating in a”WIND HOME Zone” type of billing structure, and for good reason. They’ve setup their towers in Calgary and Toronto and can charge what they need to in those areas, but when it comes to covering customers in areas outside those cities, they have to rely on (what seems like) the Belus network to provide “AWAY” Coverage as they call it. Obviously TELUS isn’t going to be giving them a stellar deal for those borrowed minutes, but as WIND grows, that will surely change.

Screen shot 2009-12-16 at 1.52.37 PM

Look familiar? I suspect WIND is using Belus' new 3G+ network for coverage outside Calgary for now.

Today is not revolutionary. WIND is truly in its infancy and is by no means offering a seamless coast-to-coast coverage solution that Belusrog offers. That being said, they are a beacon of hope of the things to come, whether it be from a nationwide WIND that will come in the next 6-18 months, or from the big three who are being pulled down from their thrones and forced to compete for once. No matter what it is, there’s no denying that this is game changing:

  • No post/prepaid discrimination – no need for credit to have Data in Canada!
  • No contracts
  • No charge caller ID
  • No charge incoming texts
  • No need to pay for voice time all you really want is Data
  • No long distance charge for calling the Airport from the City (Province-wide calling, not just “local” if that even means anything anymore)

On AWS…

Definitely not the AWS logo at all.

Definitely not the AWS logo at all. More like the American Welding Society...

I’ve been trying to find a simple answer to the question “What is AWS?” and in visiting WIND’s store I think it became clear to me: AWS or Advanced Wireless System Services is just a different bank of wireless frequencies that UMTS or GSM can operate on. In the specifications for their phones, WIND describes it as either “AWS UMTS” or “AWS GSM.” I assume this means that these phones CAN use older generation non-AWS UMTS/GSM standards, but not vice versa, which explains why, for example, the iPhone cannot be used on WIND at this time.

As a future iPhone customer, this is discouraging for now, but as AWS becomes more widely adopted across the world, Apple will likely adopt it moving forward. At that point, it will be technically feasible to get the iPhone on WIND, and that’s all that counts for me. Until Apple releases an AWS iPhone, WIND will keep doing what it does best right now, and that’s drive down costs of competition to make the iPhone plans more reasonable.

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  • AWS is Advanced Wireless Services, and encompasses a chunk of frequencies in 1.7GHz and 2.1GHz. Since that just defines the frequency, any protocol can operate on those bands.

    Canadian roaming is through Rogers (they are the only ones with a established and grandfathered GSM (and variants) network, Belus have only recently put in their network)

    I thought we read somewhere that WIND would let you buy just a SIM card to use your own AWS devices on their network but it looks like at least for now that they want you to buy their hardware first, and then ditch it for your own device.