Wind of change blows into Vancouver

Contract-free service is the main draw of B.C.’s first new mobile phone provider in over a decade, said two Surrey residents who made the trip to Yaletown for Thursday’s launch of the Wind Network in Vancouver.

Contract-free service is the main draw of B.C.’s first new mobile phone provider in over a decade, said two Surrey residents who made the trip to Yaletown for Thursday’s launch of the Wind Network in Vancouver.

“Spotty coverage (in Surrey) would still be better than contracts,” said Herman Dhillon.

His friend Nigel Joseph said his current carrier charged him $400 in $20 increments as a cancellation fee, and then sent a collection agency to recoup the funds. He’s switching in hopes of avoiding a similar situation in the future.

The Vancouver region is now Wind’s sixth “home zone,” after greater Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa. Wind executives say they hope clients will be attracted to the company’s non-contract approach, emphasis on customer service and fewer fees.

However, the wireless communications provider still faces limitations. Some comments to the company’s website over the last six months, have expressed some dissatisfaction with the network’s coverage.

“We’re still in the early stages; we’re a high-growth company, and we have some starting issues (that we’re working to address),” said Anthony Lacavera, chairman of Wind and its parent Globalive Network.

He added that Wind plans to expand its coverage across Canada to new markets and rural areas in 2010.