Don’t get me wrong here — Canadian mobile users haven’t had it this good in ten years. Seriously.
I first caught wind of this (bad pun, you’ll see) the other night on the Howard Forums. And though not (yet) widely publicized it has proven to be true: WIND Mobile is matching Mobilicity with a $40/month “unlimited everything, forever” plan of their own.
While I’m absolutely thrilled that there’s now another low cost, no-contract option for data hogs in this country (at least in urban centres) I can’t help but wonder if these plans are sustainable, and together aren’t a sign of pending trouble ahead.
Mobilicity‘s even more insane $35 CAD/month Friends & Family plan that I snatched up at the end of October is only good as long as I keep my current SIM card. Their reasoning goes that should I lose it the plan is no longer in their system, and can’t be reinstated. For this same reason I can no longer port my existing number out to them. As someone who’s had a grandfathered plan on Fido for the last six years or so, this smells like a marketing ploy to me — i.e. a get-out-of-jail-free card for Mobilicity.
WIND‘s $40 plan is much more tenable in that it’s tied to the user’s account rather than their SIM card. But to port my Fido number over I can’t use my existing SIM — I have to purchase a new one for a whopping $25, up from $10 just months ago.
Petty gripes aside, my real concern is that this spirited battle for new subscribers might actually be a cry for help in disguise. In its first six months WIND was still way behind the incumbent carriers in subscriber numbers (see Slide 13 here). And with their even later entry to market Mobilicity can’t have done much better.
It’s fantastic to see reasonably priced unlimited data plans in this country, and I’ve no reservation recommending either Mobilicity or WIND to anyone who’ll listen. I just hope both carriers make the numbers they need to satisfy their investors and keep the good deals coming in 2011.