Video: Lacavera “Competition is alive and well in Canada!”

Ian Hardy

April 15, 2010 8:30pm

Today Tony Lacavera, Chairman of Globalive and WIND Mobile took the stage and spoke at the Empire Club of Canada. His topic was called the “21st Century Canadian Telecommunications: The Way Forward” and basically addressed the industry, his challenges and Canada’s opportunity.

There was obviously much talk about foreign ownership and how the Big Three (Rogers, Bell and TELUS) have his organization on their radar and doing what they can to call them anti-Canadian. Lacavera stated “To call us anything but Canadian would, quite simply, be untrue. But, that’s the kind of fear-mongering that the incumbents would like to seed in order to continue their anti-competitive hold on the Canadian telecom market. A market that has under served Canadian consumers for a decade and one that has been hamstrung by a national oligopoly and provincial duopolies.”

Lacavera went on to speak about how the Big Three rake in the profits with the average Canadian pays over 2.2 times per minute than customers in the United States. In addition, he said our wireless network lags behind other countries with our penetration level at 67% compared to 89% in the U.S. and over 100% in Europe.

So Globalive saw an opportunity when the government had the Wireless Spectrum Auction. He decided to seek out investors and the soap opera of Egyptian-based Orascom Telecom began. Months later with the reversed CRTC-decision behind them but still very much in the public eye – Wind Mobile has invested over $800 million, employs over 700 people and stores open in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton (Vancouver is coming next).

“Competition is alive and well in Canada!” Lacavera stated. “The launch, although highly hailed by consumers, has also seen its fair share of early barriers” such as they have been unable to secure any Canadian investment and even though it’s Industry Canada’s policy to mandate tower-sharing, they’ve made over 100 requests and have yet to successfully share a single tower with any of the incumbents.

At the end of the speech Lacavera said “If we can’t fund it on our own backyard, then we have to allow for foreign capital… If we’re serious about competition to provide greater benefits for Canadians then we have to allow the free market to work”. In order for this to happen he stated if Canada wants to compete in the global market and foster the development of Canadian content, there must be 3 major policy changes:

1. Liberalize current foreign ownership rules
2. Facilitate access to foreign capital for telecommunications
3. Move forward with a policy review on the separation of broadcasting content policy from telecommunications.

All these are big changes and will take a while to come to fruition. In the meantime, Wind is active in the market and competition is increasing, prices are slowly falling and hopefully – eventually – those 3-year contracts will be history.

  • Mr. A

    Is he serious? Competition?

    Unlimited data is great, but his plans are sort of a joke. I wouldn’t say they are better value than what you can get with Telus/Bell/Rogers.

    E.g. I want 200 minutes, texting, some data, evenings weekends aka I’m the average smartphone user. On Telus, their $50 Smartphone clear choice covers those needs.

    On WIND, I need to pay a $35 voice plan, $5 texting, and $35 for unlimited data. Yes you get more, but for most people they don’t want to pay for unlimited when they don’t need it.

    Total cost: Telus, $56.50. WIND, $84.75.

    So that is my analysis that WIND isn’t better value for the average smartphone user, and tying back to the original posting… I would hardly call WIND competition.

  • Andrew

    That’s a whole bunch of crap.

  • Ej

    @ mr. A you get unlimited calling with that? no I dont think you do. What about your long distance? What about your roaming? Sure maybe there is no value in Wind for you yet but that doesn’t mean others aren’t finding value in them. Don’t speak for the populous when you try to pass off your opinion of as facts without talking true numbers.

  • No Agenda

    WIND does need to make money you know and All these new guys have put an spin on the plans. It’s either unlimited or nothing. These guys are great for people who are glued to their phones and are constantly talking/using data. The new guys won’t be great for people like the Mr. A. or me. The only way we’ll get what we want is when the big 3 lower their rates and increase the caps on mins and GB.

  • 123

    Are YOU serious? You think 200 minutes before 9pm every weekday is an “average” user? You are absolutely below average in terms of talk time.

    Don’t get me wrong, WIND’s launch has been far from smooth and there are certain things that they should have got right even if they are a start up, but for Pete’s sake it’s only been a few months – more plans and options will come. In fact I have two friends who work for the company and they both insist at least two cheaper data plans are coming in the not-so-distant future.

    But again, if Telus just happens to have a “lite” package that suits your exact needs, by all means take it, but to say that WIND’s plans are not for “average” users based solely on the fact that you only need what someone else is offering is a tad ridiculous, no?

  • 5Gs

    Oh yes i am loving it and a lot of people loving.

    Go WIND Go!

  • dredd

    Wind and Lacevera make me laugh. They are sending mixed messages with their rate plans, and are so unbelievably two faced. They claim to want to lower the costs of rate plans in Canada, but are completely ignoring coverage in all but the largest cities in Canada. They make claims of wanting to change the wireless landscape in Canada, as if they are some sort of grass roots movement, but the exact opposite is true. And they have no contracts, but a $500 smartphone that doesn’t work on anyone else’s network is a pretty good contract for most people.

  • Justwanttosavemoney

    Where were you Mr.A when they asked Canadians what they want and 99.9% of people asked for unlimited. As far as carriers are concerned let them compete and let the consumer win.

  • Dave C

    @Mr A. : get the $15 Chat plan instead of the $35 plan. 100 mins are included, and additional 100 will only cost you $10, less if you use less. If you use more, Wind starts to look better because the additional minutes are only 10 cents. It’ll still probably be more expensive in your case, but I’m not sure most users have your requirements. A typical teenager (at least in my houshold) texts like crazy, but doesn’t do much else – so $15 plan + $5 text is a perfect fit.
    SO, I’m not sure they are a joke – but I think moist people would agree that they do need some additional options, especially for those who don’t need unlimited data.

  • Dave C

    Regarding the “have yet to successfully share a single tower with any of the incumbents”… that seems pretty disgusting (on the part of the big 3). Yep, I know its not really in their interests to do it, but they already have a massive advantage – if they could start taking the high road instead of the sleazy business practices one they usually do, then that would be good…

    OK, I’m not a fan of the big 3 :)

    • rocco stiffreddi

      dave that statement is a true one but jabroni left out a few things.. first off they can share the space if they are willing to sign a lease.. not a month to month but a long term.. so thats something jabroni will not mention.. all the locations are a month to month.. as are the roof top units. The ones from the failed launch in Bratislava.. Since Oraqscom will not front GL more money.. 1 billion so far and counting… jabroni must make up reasons why his sup par network is not working right.. mind you he has a new suit.. shiny and all spiffy

  • sure, sure

    Go over your minutes and you’re screwed. Not to mention you’re stuck on a three year contract. If these providers could get rid of their three year contract then they wld be a good choice. Now they’re not worth it. I’ll never sign a contract ever again!

  • TNSF

    Our wireless networks lag??? We have the two of the best networks in the world! HSPA+ 21Mbps coast to coast? How many other countries have that?

    Maybe he meant to say Wind’s network lags…

  • Endi

    @ Mr. A
    Your overall idea is quite true. Basically, there is not much choice for those people who want something in between.

    However, you’re forgetting the call display on Telus costs $7. And you have to sign a 3-year contract to get 200 Minutes on the plan (assuming you select unlimited messaging). If you opt to double your minutes without a contract, then you would also have to pay for unlimited messaging in their $15 bundle that includes caller id.

    In the end though, it still is cheaper than WIND.

    However, note that heavy/frequent smartphone users save a crapload of money with Wind. Same goes for people who do not use data at all.

    Wind definitely adds value to the whole wireless market itself but it has obviously failed to appeal to some segments (aka people like you and I).
    Hopefully they introduce new plans to change that in the future

  • Eric Hau

    To Mr. A (Stupid reply button not working for some apparent reason),

    Wind is not for everyone… Like what you’re saying: you only need x-amount, wind isn’t right for you.

    Wind is for the people that ACTUALLY need unlimited, and it isn’t being offered at the big3.

    To me this is competition, because if a user actually needs that much, they would be paying so much at the big 3…

  • Mr. K

    Obviously Wind needs more data options, but I’d rather have unlimited talk than constantly have to check my watch to make sure it’s 5pm, or 6pm, or 9pm, and pay extra to ensure I don’t go over my daytime minutes. 200 minutes is a little more than 3 hours. For a month. The only reason “it’s enough” is because most people are too scared to go above allotted time due to overages. Pathetic compared to almost any other first OR third world country.

    Keep in mind Telus’ Clear Choice plans are a direct response to the new carriers: chances are you’d still be having a lot of SAF instead of “clear choice” if it wasn’t for Wind Mobile, DAVE, and Public.

    Additionally, a lot of good options on the Big 3 are tied to contracts: the unique made in Canada 3-year albatross. Did I mention the Big 3’s in-province LD compared to Wind’s province-wide calling area?

    Just because Wind isn’t competition for you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for others.

  • phuzzykiller

    Yes, well for the rest of us that would love to have a descent data plan along with a great talk & text plan (and don’t have Stockholm syndrome when it comes to dealing with a new company), Wind is great news. I’m stuck with Rogers here in the KW area, and I’m just waiting for Wind to show up in the area.

  • Erik Berkun-Drevnig

    I agree with Mr. A

  • jarr

    you guys are i****s who have no concept of how business works.

    try building your very own wireless network and then try to simply “give away services for very cheap or free” and see how long that works for you.

    these companies are businesses, not a charity. if you want free service – lobby the government to make these companies fall under their complete control, and pay higher taxes to fund the services :) it’s that simple.

  • Mr. A

    Everybody simmer down! I said you get more with WIND, but you pay more. The average person doesn’t need unlimited data, they use less than 500MB. Telus offers 6pm evenings/weekends right now BTW too. So yes, with 200 anytime and 6pm evenings/weekends that is more than enough minutes for the average consumer.

    I don’t understand why people are attacking me. For the AVERAGE smartphone consumer, I stand my position that Telus is a better deal. (And Rogers/Bell for that matter.

  • Dave C

    @Mr A. Apologies (at least from me) if it seems like an attack.
    I don’t think anybody doubts that in some case (whether that is most or just a few), one of the incumbents may be better. I think, however, that many folks believe that its only a few cases. Personally, I am a light user – a few calls and a few text messages. My wife has a few more calls, my kids have many (many!) more texts. I’ve looked at Bell, Telus, Rogers and they don’t even come close to my needs (I would be paying close to half on Wind). I also looked at Virgin, Fido, Koodo and even Solo. They are much more competitive than their big owners, but still no better than Wind and they get a lot worse when you factor in things like Call Display, long distance, overtime minutes etc. I certainly don’t consider Wind’s plans to be a ‘joke'; in fact, their approach (both in how they communicate and promote, and in the way they offer their services – with no contract) is a refreshing alternative. Maybe I won’t be with them in a few years – but for now, they are something different and viable.

    We aren’t using ‘smartphones’ (at least not properly), but are moving towards that. You may be right that your case is the ‘average’ smartphone user (how do you know). However, I thing most PHONE users don’t fall into the ‘average smartphone user’ group – so Wind’s plans actually can be appealing.

    Right now I see these as Wind’s main problems:
    1) As you say, the plans don’t fit all needs. Certainly, there has been much complaining about getting an intermediate data plan.
    2) Coverage and reliability. Obviously should improve with time, but hopefully quickly
    3) Phone selection. Again, should improve, and the quicker the better.
    4) ‘no contract’s is appealing, but the initial phone purchase is a turn-off to some potential customers (regardless of an 2 or 3 year math arguments)

    I’d like to make one final comment: even if anybody dislikes Wind or their services, they should still be very thankful they are here. Even if you are a Robellus customer, you have probably already gained by the better deals and pricing as they try to fend off the new entrants…

  • jermaine clarke

    Everybody is so angry LOL.

  • jesus

    wind mobile might have sickk plans but their only awesome phone is the 9700 other then that they have nothing and they barely have any phones only a couple they should have the iphone atleast and more touch phones cuz thats what everyone is buying these days so example the iphone so ya wind mobile dont think is competition and also the network is not sure yet if its fast and dont lose too much bars for ur signal so ya wind mobile not competition for rogers bell and fido and telus they r gonna need alot of time so they can be popular…….

  • Michael Holinsky

    I don’t see how anyone can say this is “crap” because of them we are paying less… So go to hell if you think this is a bad thing because I am tired of my 200 dollar phone bills!

    because of them I was able to get an unlimited plan with FIDO and unlimited data/text/long distance! They are great for this market….

    Also pretty much everyone I know uses about 2000-3000 mins a month… Before they had to worry about whether it was in the evenings or if t hey were in their local areas or to make sure it was an incoming call! Now, everyone I know who is with FIDO is on the unlimited plan and is not worrying at all thanks to wind!

    THANKS WIND!! My friends and I LOVE you!!! <3

  • Tim

    “you guys are i****s who have no concept of how business works.

    try building your very own wireless network and then try to simply “give away services for very cheap or free” and see how long that works for you.

    these companies are businesses, not a charity. if you want free service – lobby the government to make these companies fall under their complete control, and pay higher taxes to fund the services it’s that simple.”

    Can we run off together? : )

    I’ve been saying this over and over. It’s not a f*****g charity and these companies need to compensate their costs. Unfortunately, most users are too stupid to understand the massive costs of running a cell phone company – all the way down to paying employees, funding technology, and even paying rent. Before some of you make comments, the actual “average” smartphone user uses 459 minutes (including evenings and weekends) a month. So yes, 200 weekday minutes IS average. What makes you think they don’t make researchers to figure all of this stuff out? Look up the definition of average before you claim someone is incorrect.

    In terms of competition, this is competition. If you look at the behaviour of all of the carriers you we see that it’s becoming more competitive. That was his original statement from months ago – Canadian wireless needs more competition.

  • Mack

    Mr A, I have friends, and 200 mins simply won’t do, because I would like to talk to my friends. If they also have mins, we just call each other and debate who is going to call them back. Unlimited is amazing, and just because you don’t have enough friends to use many mins, don’t punish everyone who does with your ignorance.

  • Mark

    Tim, if the average phone user only uses 459, what would be the problem with offering unlimited for the same price as a 500 min plan? Hm? Explain that. If they are So confident that people only need 500 mins, why not give unlimited, so that if someone were to use more, they could?

    Also, what happens to the non average user? Why not have an unlimited plan for the non average user? A good company would serve the entire public, not just the average user. Most of the people I know go way way over that.

    Also, it’s a matter of limits, if someone knows that they only have 500 mins, they won’t go over their minutes, if you look at the average number of minutes used in countries that offer unlimited plans, it is way higher than it is in Canada! So stop being morons, and realize that if people had more, they would use more.

  • rocco stiffreddi

    Oh tony jabroni you are so funny!

    “Competition is alive and well in Canada!

    and yet The company is owned by Orascom.. ok ok they only hold the 1 billion dollar debt.. but you.. a out of work used car peddler run the company.

    but now that uncle swarie has made it clear you need to begin to make him some money, he is in debt large you now say its all well and good. Now what I find funny about the requests for tower space is what you leave out.. you did not want to commit to the 1 year lease you wanted a month to month.. so yes the told you to pound salt.

  • rocco stiffreddi

    is it true that jabroni would not speak unless there were no questions.. and how did he handle the questions that were asked of him? I htink people at the empire club would all agree he was a babbeling i***t when he was asked why he would not perfect one area before going to another.. what I thought was funny was the finance expert asking him how a company could hold all the debt, make all the policy decisions supply all the equipment.. and have no control.. yes folks jabroni did not disappoint.. he said it was a matter of public record.. and we know thats a lie.. the other tony.. cement.. he too is closed lipped about it..

  • rocco stiffreddi

    An excellent post by ” Shoephone ” from the howard forums..

    The key letter in this comment is the pluralising “s” … investorS. Mr Lacavera made a big deal about going to “the markets” to raise capital in the middle of January. Checking my calendar, I notice it is late July. While it is true Wind Mobile has *an* investor (alas, not investorS), that said investor (Weather Investments, the family investment firm of Naguib Sawiris, 51% owner of Orascom Telecom, the 65% indirect owner of Wind Canada and Yak) is on record saying he does not want to be the major leader to Wind Canada. His Egyptian pounds are only on the line because, after scouring the entire planet, apparently, according to Mr Lacavera, the company discovered absolutely no one else was interested.

    More than seven months later, not a single investor has shown up willing to put up a nickel in Wind Canada, including the usual suspects — the junk bond markets fueled by a bank consortium.

    Meanwhile, Wind has been selling its best product at 50% off … for more than two months unlimited talk and text across Canada — the $45 Plan — has been sold at $22.50. You can’t take your girlfriend or wife (let alone both of them at the same time ) to a movie for that price. No other cell phone company is Canada has a plan that comes a hundred miles close to that: $22.50 for all you can eat 100% free Canadian LD, unlimited (that’s over 43,000) minutes, 100% free unlimited US/Canada texting, voice mail, and the usual features … all of that without a contract for less than the price of week’s round trip commute on the TTC.

    If 22 million customers have cell service in Canada, something like 1 million+ are available every month to switch carriers without paying a penalty. Shouldn’t Wind’s deal be adding 100,000 a month?

    Make no mistake: Telus, Bell and Rogers aren’t just winning in Shawinigan, Sarnia and Saskatoon … they are beating Wind in Toronto, Vancouver and other major markets. If Wind can’t beat the majors with a flagship Blackberry 9700, and several other devices covering basic, texting, data only and smartphones … with an all you can eat $22.50 plan in place for 2-1/2 months … what’s it going to take? That is Wind’s investor dilemma.

    So … will additional investors toss in some chips? And what are the current investors — the Canadian one tapped out fully and the Egyptian one facing a second bankruptcy in Greece in twelve months — going to do?

  • rocco stiffreddi

    I was on hold waiting for customer service at Wind so we obviously we had enough time to have sex, i just put the phone on speaker

  • Rocco StiffReddi

    طلبتم تودع للتخلص من الطلبات سخيفة وغير موجودة لدينا.

  • Rocco StiffReddi

    An open letter to Ken Campbell and Anthony Lacavera, Hello, I joined with wind mobile in january and was excited to switch from the high bills at rogers. Right away i had problems. They had an issue porting my number over and it took over 2 weeks for them to fix it. i had to let everyone know that my number had changed and ended up keeping the new number because it took so long. I continued on with wind, but there was constantly issues. missed calls, dropped calls, texts were not sent. I accepted it. i was getting a good honest rate, so i tried my best not to complain. i took two trips to America , i let the customer service reps know before hand, and both times my phone had issues. the first trip was a week long in miami, and i had zero service for the whole trip. the second one was in california and certain times it would connect and certain days i would have zero service. I accepted this as well. I stayed with wind until last month the service got so bad that i was unable to make calls, and when i did, i could not hear the other person but they could hear me. I called customer service, and was able to communicate intermittently with customer service rep who told me there was a known issue in the gta. Shouldnt they have contacted me and let know that? The next day i still could not make proper calls, and ported my number out to chatr. i was with them for a month, took a trip to new york and everything worked smoothly. The service was great in and around Toronto. I was satisfied. But i am a student and i saw the new deal wind was offering, and so decided to try again i would much rather give my money to a new entrant than any of the big 3, so today at the end of my month with chatr, i bought i new sim card, and ported my number back. they told me it would take a few hours. 5 hours later, my number had not been ported. i called in, and spoke to CSR, who told me he would look into my account. he informed me that perhaps my number could not be ported because i had waited for my month with chatr to finish and it was not currently active. I told him that no one at the wind store had informed me of this, and if that was the case i wanted to return the sim that i had paid for today. he told me that was impossible and sim cards are one time use, and i would be stuck with paying the $10. this infuriated me. i explained to me that this was wind policy. These kind of CSR make me so mad. zero empathy. In my opinion it is your fault (WIND) that you didnt explain to me the terms of the port, and because of this i am stuck paying $10 for a sim card that wont ever have my phone number, unless i pay for another month a chatr to make it active, and lose that money so i can transfer my number to wind. That makes no sense. In my opinion, he should have told me something like, “it is wind policy not to return sim cards, but because of your extenuating circumstances, i will try to see if i can make that happen for you”. No nothing like that came out of his mouth. We fought for a while on the phone, but the call was concluded with that there was no point discussing this now, because perhaps they could port my number anyway. He said he would contact the back office and get back to me. 4 more hours go by, i hear nothing. call back and speak to agent who transfers me to the back office. the person i speak with is tabish, and he was extremely helpful. he told me the first agent i spoke to today did not contact the back office regarding my account. my number had been ported over to wind, but there was a problem attaching it to my account. It was after 9 when i called back and the IT people had gone home. He told me i would be stuck with this ported number until tomorrow, and perhaps even the weekend. this is so embarrassing. Im trying really hard here to be a WIND customer, but I feel time and time again I have been let down. The price is right, dont get my wrong. but its really difficult when now on a friday night, i do not have my phone. i know i have missed at least one important call, and who knows the numerous texts i have missed. Right now when you call my phone it says it doesnt exist so i cannot receive voicemail or anything. I cant even say forget wind and top up my chatr account because my number has already been ported over. so here i am again, with a strange number, embarrassed again from WIND that i have to call my closest friends and give them a new number to contact me on. I decided just to stay in this evening because of the frustration. How can I advise my friends to join this company when things like this keep happening. And after coming on here and reading peoples network issues, im really wondering if i made the right decision. $25 is cheap, but perhaps to cheap, and maybe ill have to switch back again. The weekend is now over, its Monday, my number still has not been ported. Who knows the many many calls and texts I missed all weekend. I spoke to a CSR today and she told me that the most compensation she could give me was one month free ($25). To me that is insulting. A $25 value on not having my phone for the entire weekend? I feel like the calls I missed were not respected by WIND or this CSR. What if I was running a business and this phone number was used for that. I think my calls should be respected just as much as anyone else’s. And my frustration is worth more than $25. If this is issue is not resolved to my satisfaction, I will be porting my number immediately back out to chatr. I can accept the poor cell phone service, but what I can not accept is poor customer service. Thank you, Kyle