Lycamobile planning to launch in Canada later this year as an MVNO, targets the unlimited talk and text market

Ian Hardy

July 23, 2012 11:02am

When WIND Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile launched their wireless service they all promoted and promised to rid Canadians of the bill shock they experienced from the Big 3. The goal was to shake up the industry and offer “real competition” and more value. Years later the estimated amount of combined wireless subscribers the new entrants have amassed is about 1 million, with WIND Mobile leading the pack with over 430,000.

Now, according to a report in the Globe, there might be a new big shot coming to the Canadian market. Apparently Lycamobile, who operates in 16 countries with over 20 million customers and sells low-cost overseas talk/text plans, is looking to expand their operations into another 9 countries by the end of 2013. Lycamobile would not purchase spectrum, but operate as a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) like PC Mobile (Loblaws), SpeakOut Wireless (7Eleven), and Petro-Canada Mobility (Petro-Canada).

It’s currently unknown who they’ll partner with, probably Rogers, but the goal for Lycamobile is to target “immigrants and other ethnic consumers who regularly talk and text with family and friends living overseas.” It’s expected that Lycamobile will launch in Canada later this year in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and will offer up unlimited prepaid talk and text plans, users will have to bring their own handset and Lycamobile will simply sell them a SIM and service. This all sounds very familiar as this is a similar strategy and demographic that Public Mobile went with, but operates a CDMA network, sells handsets and has spectrum in Toronto and Montreal.

Milind Kangle, CEO of Lycamobile Group, stated “This is a lifeline service. We believe that our customers should get the same quality connection as any other customer would get in any other part of the world. And we believe that the communication should be affordable – as in they should be able to make daily calls without having to feel the pinch in their wallet.”

Source: Globe

  • lolled

    You are missing an “l” in the word Public.

    • ns.dev

      Maybe it’s an opinion?

    • haha

      Don’t think its a typo lol

    • Reginald

      rim?

  • Big Ang

    Bye Bye Chatr!

    Rogers bringing in a partner to run what will essentially be a flanker brand (as a MVNO Lyca will handle the sales and customer service while Rogers will get a large chunk of the revenue by providing the back-end service). Remember when Bell brought in a new foreign partner and set up Virgin Mobile Canada? From the beginning Virgin was a almost a carbon copy of what Bell and Solo offered, and once Bell bought Richard Branson’s 50% of Virgin Canada, it wasn’t any different. And since it was more successful than Solo, Solo was eventually shuttered.

    Fast forward a few years and you’ll see the same thing will happen with Rogers, Chatr, and Lyca.

    Bye Bye Chatr!

  • tim dion

    Dont bother setup if your mobile network will not be independent and offer data plan

  • G

    She is a cutie.

  • jansen

    this is exactly what Canadians want right?… wrong! we want cheaper phones on a maximum of 2 years contract. we want cheaper monthly plans, we want better customer service and a cell phone company that doesnt charges you random fees for no reason.

    we dont need more competition causee rogers and bell will twist our hands more.
    we need government intervention to promote more competition and better laws on contracts time frame etc.

    • Big Ang

      Cheaper phones on a 2 year contract? That’s Fido.

      Cheaper monthly plans AND a phone subsidy? That’s Wind with their Tab.

      Better customer service? That’s….ummm……errr……well, everyone has their own opinion on this….

      Doesn’t charge random fees for no reason? That’s Wind, Mobilicity, and Public…… for the most part at least.

      “we don’t need more competition….. we need the government to promote competition” – You’re not making any sense.

      Better laws on contract time frames? The laws are pretty clear, and you are never forced to sign up for a contract. If a company says so, then go to a different company. Pretty simple. I would like to see better laws on companies not allowed to increase their fees while you are in a contract – not just the plan fee, but any of the fees for “extras”.

      Jansen, most of what you are asking for is already available. Choose what is here now.

  • OgtheDim

    Might work – Public Mobile didn’t really sell itself as this.

    Not sure about the whole “well people have old phones around” thing though, as mentioned in the Globe.

    Not really aimed at people on this website.

  • Lawrence

    more like good bye wind. no wonder wind is running around scared oh well was fun while it lasted

    • Jack

      Looks like Lycomobile is going to operate in the exact same area’s as Chatr. Since we already have Chatr in these area’s and Wind/Mobilicity are still here so not sure where the idea of Wind/Mobilicity being gone make sense. Plus there are no data offerings.

    • Big Ang

      Bye Bye Lawrence, please pick up a clue on your way out.

  • Sir

    Good thing the Canadian mobile industry isn’t already overcrowded. Oh wait…

  • XER

    This is how mobile operators should do their business in Canada. They should only be selling the the SIM and service. Not to tie you up. Consumers should always buy their own phone.

    • Walter

      + 1000

    • Big Ang

      I agree. The problem is that people are used to their phone subsidies. They like saying “I got my iPhone for free”. Ever since Wind and Mobilicity have started we have seen that the majority of i****s…err…. people will freak out over spending $200-$500 for a phone that Robelus offers for free, but then think nothing about spending an extra $20, $30, or $40+ per month over a 3 year period.

      Wind tried this, and then shifted their business model to a tab system so clients won’t have sticker shock when they buy a phone. Their plans are more expensive than Mobilicity in order to compensate, but I’m sure a lot of customers prefer it that way.

      The market will decide what they want. More choices are always better. Robelus has a lot of ‘legacy’ frequency (2G GSM and CDMA) that they have to keep running to serve a smaller and smaller group of customers. Getting a MVNO to offer some of that capacity for a low price AND hurt Public/Wind/Mobilicity in the process sounds like a win-win for Robelus. Lyco can go with Rogers GSM, but something like this can probably work with Bell or Telus’s CDMA as well, it would just be a bit more difficult to set up someone’s old phone.

    • EvanK

      Yes, and while that would be great beyond belief and I’m in supprt of it 110%, unless the mindset of Canadians change when it comes to mobile phones (and framkly I’m not sure if it will anytime soon), a provider like this is quite a niche market. Everybody that I know is locked into either a 2 or 3 year contract, the North American mentality is when you need a phone, you go to the carrier, and get one at a discounted rate. 99% of Canadians wouldn’t even consider purchasing a phone unlocked or outright, as they only think about the upfront cost, and not its practicality or overall cost in the long run.

      Unless Lycamobile sells their own phones through the carrier at discounted rates, I can’t see them doing too well. Considering that they’re not on the AWS spectrum like lots of the new entrants, if they offer data, they’d be an excellent option for me, and probably the majority of people that already own an unlocked phone. However, we’re few and far between, and because of that, I can’t see this catching on.

  • Walter

    Looking at the site of the company they are in a good position! They use the carriers that have the best coverage and then set up shop. Data is an option but the phone plan is their bread and butter. 1 cent per min to Canada? NO roaming while in Europe? Free calls between users? I can see why wind is worried about this! Wind should have done this! but tony the fat head wanted to pretend he could make it work. Now look at them 1.5 billion in the hole and no LTE.

    • rollout

      funny comment about wind and tony. ! I do agree that there are better ways to spend at least $ 1.5 Billion and counting.

      more money after bad money.

      But would anyone pay $ 1,000 per sub. That makes WIND worth about $ 500 Million and they could get out alive.

  • roman20

    More choice is better than less, I suppose. But I don’t expect them to get very far with jus voice plans. Pretty sure immigrants want data too.

    • Pat

      Yea, and when immigrants arrive, they have a 100 dollars dual sim Chinese smartphone, and they need a cheap data plan, so that they can use Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, and call for free.They don’t need an SMS plan. This is already outdated.

  • 173

    Given its theorized target market (immigrants), I would bet on Rogers to be the backbone of it due to it’s GSM network, and I really hope it does.

  • whocares

    Another shitty company for cheap people.

    • expat

      i care. Whocares, why do canadians not like competition, do you like to pay more than you need to to help your massive ego. Lycamobile will stir up the pot for those who want it to.

  • Cell Hell

    I think the people complaining about cheap service must be paid employees of Telus trying to make the competition look bad.

  • Brent M

    Three things this carrier needs:

    – Unlimited data plans
    – Not AWS spectrum
    – No Home zone restrictions

  • Apple Sales Guy

    Lycamobile, here at apple we wish you the best of success.
    I heard there’s a magical device that can help you reach unimaginable sales numbers. Oh yah, that magical device is none other than the Apple Iphone

    ;)

    • Lawrence

      From what the article says they sell you the sim and you pop it in a phone and off you go. So the Iphone would work, so would pretty much any phone. AWS? you crazy look at the problems wind is having! So a company targeted at cheap voice, how very interesting. Reading on the sites the sim is free? Hello wind you listening? Sign me up!

  • T1MB1T

    Tony called from Paris to say he will not stand for this! Our lawyers are on that and will have it stopped! WE are the logical choice for them and why is Rogers name being used! We have the most megga hurts and the best plans! YOU all have to support wind! No LTE but we have AWS for you all! ADVANCED! is the a in AWS! join us on FB where I can Answer all your questions!

    WIND!

  • showfine

    i can w8 to came the lyca to canada . come soon plzzzzzz