Roaming is the worst, but a new plan from Canadian network operator Wind Mobile, which is one of the few carriers not a part of Canada’s big three telecommunications companies, is going to start offering subscribers an unlimited roaming plan beginning Monday, February 3rd for just $15 per month.
The roaming plan inconceivably comes with unlimited talk, text and data across the U.S. Rogers, one of the leading Canadian service providers, offers a paltry 500 MB of data, along with unlimited sent texts and 100 minutes for $80 to compare (and that’s the most you can get). Bell offers 500 MB for $50, with an extra $30 required for talk and text (so same as Rogers) and Telus offers 300 minutes and unlimited text, with only 300MB of data usage for $65.
It doesn’t take a comparative mathematician to figure out that Wind Mobile’s deal is a heck of a lot cheaper than anyone else’s. In fact, as a frequent U.S. traveler myself, I’m tempted: I generally pay at least that much, and usually a bit more picking up a prepaid sim card from a U.S. carrier when I pop over for a work trip. Of course, to make that work, you need to sign up for a Wind plan to begin with, which has its own limitations because of the network reach of the alternative carrier, and the wireless frequencies used by its network. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that Wind’s main roaming partner in the U.S. is T-Mobile, and that it’ll provide either 2G or HSPA (3G) speeds for data. Also, just like Wind’s unlimited plan at home, the roaming one will be subject to throttling depending on usage.
Wind Mobile had to withdraw from Canada’s wireless spectrum auction earlier this month, after it essentially decided it couldn’t pony up table stakes to compete with the big boys. This new move should attract at least some switchers who were on the fence, especially among the frequent travellers, but overall the picture is still a bleak one for anyone trying to break the rule of the big three in Canada’s wireless industry.