Globalive toppled the first major hurdle - the CRTC. They got approval from Industry Canada to launch their WIND Mobile brand only one week ago. And they haven't wasted any time - you can now purchase from a selection of 3 voice plans. Their pricing structure is actually quite straight forward: A $15 basic plan, $35 provincial all you can talk plan, and a $45 National all you can talk plan, all with no contract.
Now the second major hurdle begins and this one won't be any easier to overcome: Competition from the incumbents Bell, Telus, and Rogers, AND then sales, support, call quality, pricing, and customer service. Each one of these is a major hurdle on their own.
Let's address the competitive and business threats / hurdles:
Bell, Telus and Rogers have had months to prepare for the new cell phone players (there are two others coming to market shortly - Public Mobile and Dave Wireless). The incumbent carriers (Fido, Koodoo and Solo) have low end brands and now also have competitive low end offerings which come close to WindMobile's monthly price plan (although they come with contracts).
The Business Hurdles:
Sales - Wind Mobile is selling their product through a small selection (under 20 for now) Blockbuster stores in Metro Toronto and Calgary. Not exactly a Canadian NATIONAL footprint. Yet.
Support & Service - These are similar in nature. Customers that have issues with their phone, quality, support ... need to call into a tech support hot-line and have their call answered SUCCESSFULLY in a short period of time. This is where WindMobile can make some headway, by competing with the other carriers and by offering fantastic service.
Call Quality - It took the incumbent carriers MANY years to build their networks. The early days were plagued with dropped calls, poor voice quality, and plenty of frustration. Customers tolerated these issues in the early days. Not anymore though. Globalive needs to deliver on the call quality front - and the consumer has little tolerance for poor call quality. And as their subscriber base increases and the network congests it will become more difficult to manage the increased traffic.
Pricing - now that Wind Mobile has announced their price plans they need to be prepared for some competition. The others will follow with similar plans - and then how will Wind differentiate themselves ?
Failure to deliver on any of these competitive fronts could spell disaster for Wind Mobile.
On a positive note, of the 3 new carriers coming to Canada Globalive seems to be better prepared then the other 2 - Dave Wireless and Public Mobile. Public Mobile has a reasonably good web site. The Dave Wireless web site is absolutely pathetic, almost an after thought. Check it out. We're now past the Christmas sales period and neither have launched yet.
As I have stated before though, Wind will survive the first year. The have some deep pockets supporting them (Orascom out of Egypt) and an excellent launch plan. The others, Dave and Public won't last past the first year (despite Dave's raising an additional $75 Million as announced yesterday).
I still believe they have a huge task ahead of them though as the other business elements, service, support, pricing, will be a huge hurdle to overcome.
More: I haven't been that kind to Dave Wireless. I'm bewildered though. I write fairly frequently about the Canadian wireless market, and have discussed Dave Wireless on numerous occasions. I've sent them emails requesting media interviews and information. Their name gets posted to Twitter, Indenti, ping.fm on a frequent basis. And they haven't defended their market position (or quite frankly replied to my requests for an interview). I know they must be busy but I hope they do a better job once launched.