WIND Mobile starts building out its Dual Carrier HSPA+ network

Ian Hardy

June 7, 2014 7:34 am

WIND Mobile launched its service back in December of 2009 and the initial goal was to have over 1.3 million subscribers signed up by the end of 2013. Competition over the years was fierce and while others were sold off or in bankruptcy, WIND Mobile is plugging ahead and recently declared to cross over the 700,000 subscriber mark.

WIND informed us about a few notable network upgrades. WIND currently has 1408 cell sites and are now 100% HSPA+ enabled across Canada, thus giving customers potential download speeds of up to 21Mbps (average is probably around 8Mbps). WIND is also stepping up for the next phase and have installed over 360 antennas in various locations across the country for Dual Carrier HSPA+ speeds (up to 42Mbps).

In addition, WIND will be launching wireless service in Brantford at the beginning of July.

  • It’s Me

    What is dual carrier HSPA? I’m familiar with DC-HSDPA or Dual Cell HSPA but not dual carrier. New thing? Same thing?

    • ToniCipriani

      Same thing. The D in HSDPA is just specifically says two carriers on the downlink. Dual Cell and Dual Carrier means the same thing.

    • Andy

      The D actually stands for downlink. That’s why it was called HSDPA and HSUPA, and later renamed to HSPA.

  • deltatux

    Well I’m really hoping to see DC-HSPA completely rolled out in the near future. However, they still have huge gaps in their existing network which they still need to fix. Hopefully they’ll fill those holes quickly.

  • specks

    Its funny how you say their goal of 1.3mil subs by 2013 is becoming more of a reality. 2013 finished and they didn’t hit it…
    850k by the end of 2014 is possible absolutely.. But like others have said they need to focus on the gaps in existing coverage.

    • alamarco

      I believe those gaps in coverage is what is stopping most people from jumping to WIND. Depending on your area you could constantly be going in and out of coverage which just isn’t acceptable.

    • 5Gs

      Totally Agree! They should focus on making the existing network stronger then move up. I mean I still goto some brampton area and hmmm no signals. Also terry fox and britannia area in mississauga. No signals. I mean this is their heart core area.

    • Michal Krzyszczyk

      I’m an electrician and I do a lot of service work. I would switch to wind in a heartbeat if the coverage in my area was less spotty.

    • 5Gs

      I believe you. There is a lot of people like you.

    • kcus kcid

      Anyone doing anything business related should stick to the big 3 networks (bummer). Wind is still lacking in coverage right now.

    • Pawv

      My coverage is perfect in Edmonton :]

    • Conception

      Go into your basement or inside a metal building. You’ll see a serious impact…it’s the one thing I hate about AWS.

    • Pawv

      I get perfect reception from our basement actually. I only noticed poor reception in a couple malls but I don’t notice it anymore. You know what’s funny.. Wind gets good reception in my basement and telus doesn’t lol

    • Conception

      Nice! Lucky you. Me, not so much…So I keep my phone on my main level. Thinking of trying a signal booster for the basement but they’re pricey.

    • Zed Eph

      Try the Xlink BTTN…

    • Conception

      That’s an interesting device and a great price! Thank you for the info.

    • Zed Eph

      No problem. Message me if you’re looking for one; I got one, but don’t need it anymore…

    • Deciare

      That’s been my experience in Mississauga as well. :D Great signal from my basement, and horrid reception at malls. Or rather, the signal bars are just fine at malls, but there’s so much congestion that the ability to do data is intermittent.

    • Philosoraptor

      I get pretty crappy reception in metal buildings on the Bell/Telus network. An occasionally appearing reception bar with perpetual dropped calls isn’t much of an improvement over what I had when I was with WIND. And, my basement reception was fine on WIND.

  • nekkidtruth

    Sounds to me like they may be able to hold their on for a while longer. Choosing not to be part of auction was a bad decision in my opinion, but I’m glad they have other plans and I’ll continue to save boatloads of money each year. Thanks WIND!

    • 5Gs

      I bet you have the grandfather plan like mine. $40 for unlimited every thing plus usa free calling and global texting. Can’t find those plan any more even with wind for that price.

    • nekkidtruth

      Yes and no. I have the Ultimate Plan from the holiday’s. Includes unlimited everything except the US stuff. I do have global texting though. $39+tax/month and I have 2 lines. I pay for 2 lines what I used to pay Rogers for one. So ridiculous. :)

    • 5Gs

      Not to mention you get way more than what you would get with rogers. I remember when Wind came out. I had only one month left with rogers. Guess what when i did the calculation. Even after paying rogers $100.00 for breaking a contract. I was saving a lot of money lol..

      I had the same plan as yours but then they came out with $40 wish plan. Then i quickly jumped to it. Now they call it grandfather plan.

    • Martini

      Currently using their US Unlimited Roaming add-on, and am delighted about it. I used Roam Mobility in the past, but WIND’s add-on is far cheaper and it’s the same service.

    • JayC

      The old $40 Miracle Plan is currently available for $50 as a regular plan…

  • Ian TrueBlueboy Evans

    As soon as they cover from Toronto through to Kingston I’ll be jumping to them, getting tired of paying premium prices for minimal options!

  • Tpickles

    Seeing as right now i get about 10Mbps on my phone im looking forward to the increased speeds

  • Andrew English

    Keep in mind LTE is data only, it doesn’t support voice communications. When you make call on a LTE network like Bell, Rogers or Telus or receive call, the phone drops to HSPA+ while you are talking, then will increase back to 4G LTE once you hang up. So are you really getting any “real” benefit from going to 4G LTE? No.

    • St. Misery

      LTE is actually needed for HD voice calling. It’s still in its infancy though as not every LTE phone supports it, and it only works when calling users in the same carrier as yourself.

    • naviz

      No it is not. HD voice has been out for a long time. It only requires a UMTS network which support the AMR-WB codec.
      WIND supports HD voice already.

    • Rimtu Kahn

      Wind was in fact one of the first Canadian carriers to support HD voice. HD voice most definitely does not require LTE.
      Original poster Andrew was correct. Also VoLTE is being rolled out in the US now which allows calling / voice over LTE.
      No Canadian carriers support VoLTE yet.
      LTE drains battery faster than DC-HSPA+….and realistically with LTE you get no more than 25 Mbps bandwidth…DC-HSPA+ also reaches anywhere between 20 and 30 Mbps bandwidth. So, people who can go past the carrier jargon should opt for DC-HSPA+ (currently I believe only the bell-Telus network and their MVNOs supports this in Canada)

      Another benefit of HSPA+ whether DC or SC is that your phone is guaranteed compatible with another carriers HSPA+ network.
      LTE is not globally compatible because different regions implement support for different frequencies.

    • Nadefrenzy

      “LTE drains battery faster than DC-HSPA+” No, it doesn’t.

      Read the Note 2 and Note 3 reviews on Anandtech. It’s actually better for your battery life to use LTE radios on the newer handsets.

    • The Rooty’s Tweeties

      Most reviews of samsung products are the result of paid positive reviews.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Doubt that. Anandtech is one of the last few reliable tech review sites. People use them as a reference and standard—that happens for a reason in this industry.

      Sites like PA don’t either i don’t think (cept sometimes), because they do post articles that dampen down the hype of flagship devices sometimes ie the S5′s display hype article.

    • Thr1ve

      DC-HSPA+ will never reach 20 to 30 Mbps, just like regular HSPA+ rarely (if ever) got over 10 Mbps, with WIND’s horrible coverage, poor signal quality and saturated towers, you’d be lucky to get anything over 10 to 15 Mbps with DC-HSPA+ on a good day in an area with a low population during off peak hours… I regularly get between 35 to 55 Mbps down and 25 to 35 Mbps up on my LTE handsets on both Bell and Rogers’ LTE networks in crowded areas at peak hours… Also, you mentioned one of the benefits of LTE, you’re not being bogged down by voice calls on the LTE network, it’s strictly used for data.

      LTE does not use more battery than DC-HSPA+, this used to be the case in the past when manufacturers needed to add a standalone LTE chip, but these days, it’s built into the SoC, and so battery usage remains the same as DC-HSPA+ or HSPA+…

      Phones with LTE radios still have and use HSPA+ radios as well, I fail to see how WIND upgrading to DC-HSPA+ has any effect (let alone benefits) on connecting to other carriers in different regions… That has absolutely nothing to do with WIND and everything to do with the phone’s manufacturer, the devices would still support other carriers in other regions regardless if WIND rolled out their DC-HSPA+ network or not… Smartphones have had this capability for over 4 years already, so it’s nothing new.

      Please, stop making excuses (and spreading misinformation, and wildly exaggerating DC-HSPA+ speeds) in order to justify WIND finally upgrading their network to an already aging technology that was rolled out by everyone else 4+ years ago… The fact that WIND chose to roll out DC-HSPA+ instead of LTE shows just how mismanaged it really is… There is absolutely no reason as to why someone would prefer to have DC-HSPA+ over LTE, NONE, yet you make it sound as if it’s the better choice (which it’s obviously not) over LTE…

    • alphs22

      So you ONLY use your data while making phone calls?

      Interesting use of a smartphone.

    • Anon-e-mouse

      It’s called using a voip app to make calls etc. Not for everyone but it works for some.

    • Who Needs Facts

      If you are using VOIP, by definition are not using voice at the same time as data.

  • 5Gs

    Totally agree! I have been with them since day 1 but yesterday i went to their store and to my shock their prices went up. Now you can only get $0.00 phone only with $60.00 plan unless otherwise you want to settle with lower end phones.

    I just didn’t expect them to go up that high but still their $60.00 plan is not comparable to rogers $150 plan where still you won’t get unlimited data.

    Only if they could work out a deal with phone companies to give out all phone for cheap. That would be great.

    • MacMan156

      That’s because you want an expensive smartphone. The carriers have made it seem like they are so cheap for far too long.

    • 5Gs

      I know Eh! It looks like every thing is going up except the wages =S

      I mean $800.00 for a smart phone that is only good for wasting time on social networking and checking time.

      $800.00 you can get an extremely great desktop/laptop if you are a real tech person.

    • Thr1ve

      You’re right, Rogers’ plans aren’t comparable with WIND’s, because Rogers actually has LTE, excellent coverage, great signal quality due to their towers not being over saturated, nationwide coverage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, better and more phone options, more features… Need I go on? You get what you pay for, hence why WIND is cheaper… Also, WIND doesn’t offer true unlimited data, you get throttled after 5GB to speeds that are pretty much unusable (9 to 32 kb/s, if you’re able to actually get a data connection at all), I’d rather pay overage fees and keep my full data speeds than have unusable data when I really need it… Also, those grandfathered into the $30 / 6GB data plan aren’t paying much more than $60 a month for their smartphone plans.

  • graze81

    Signed up with WIND at the end of April in Ottawa. Haven’t had any issues and for what I get out of the $60 it’s a steal. Couldn’t be more happier making the switch.

  • ralph

    Does anyone understand as to why wind Mobile hasn’t made the jump to Vancouver island in BC??

    • alphs22

      No money.

    • MacMan156

      They have Victoria coverage

    • McNucklefuts

      When did they light that up? Its not on their coverage map?

    • Deciare

      My understanding is that WIND did, at least at one point, have a test deployment in Victoria. If you search for Victoria, BC on Coverage Mapper, you can see some green.

      I haven’t heard anything about their intent to officially roll out coverage in Victoria, though.

    • ralph

      But isn’t the Victoria the “away” coverage so you cant really use all there features?

    • MacMan156

      Nope. It’s home

  • HeyYoWL

    More people need to join Wind so they can expand coverage. That is, the people who are in their coverage zone should join up so that finally Wind will have the money to expand.

    • ScooterinAB

      Wind need to improve it’s coverage so that more people can join. That is, it’s pretty much hit as many customer as it is going to gain in all of its markets, and lacks any more room to grow except outwards. With more coverage, Wind can gain the customer it needs to hit critical mass and gain enough money to keep moving.

      It’s sort of a chicken-egg thing. In actuality, Wind needs to do both in order to grow it’s business, but it obviously can’t do both at the same time. That, or double it’s ARPU, which I personally think is about their only option left.

  • Jeremy Herring

    I wonder if this will mean faster than the 0.5 mbps you get in downtown Toronto during the work day

    • Neil LaPointe

      I feel like the only one getting those speeds. Wind is not willing to do anything to fix those issues

    • The Rooty’s Tweeties

      It’s called congestion and also, high rise buildings can also be to blame, signals don’t travel vertically.

  • Steve

    Great news to hear that they are investing in their existing network but honestly I dont think WIND can really expand much more seeing as they dropped out of the 700 mhz spectrum auction they just dont have the spectum or cashflow..

    • nekkidtruth

      But yet, here they are getting ready to expand into Brantford. Interesting….

      Don’t get me wrong, anyone with half a brain can see that WIND’s options are extremely limited (if you go strictly by what is visible to us), but I suspect we’re not getting the whole picture. Is WIND going to be the 4th national player? Probably not. But there’s certainly a possibility they’re going to be a true 4th player in Ontario and well, that’s fine by me.

    • Behrad Ghob

      I think the problem with not going with the 700Mhz auction was because of the Rural Area requirement for all carriers signed up with it. It be like wasting money for no good reason. So i believe better spend money upgrading their network and expanding it than to waste on it by building another new network.

  • jeremynsl

    Wish they came to Saskatchewan…

    • Neil LaPointe

      You’re lucky out in Saskatchewan, Sasktel offers decent plans, $70 with unlimited data. In the rest of the country You’d get 1-2gb TOPS, except for wind. so count your blessings

    • jeremynsl

      The problem with Sasktel isn’t data, it’s voice. If I leave Saskatoon city limits, I’m roaming. Any incoming or outgoing calls are considered long-distance. It can be very expensive…

  • Nadefrenzy

    Great prices, but slow speeds. I wish they had LTE. Nothing compares to being able to surf the web at 90Mbps on a smartphone. Difference between that and 8-10Mbps is huge.

    • Nadefrenzy

      “Unless you are streaming video…”

      Yup.

      “large files”

      Also, yup.

      During congestion hours, LTE really comes in handy.
      In addition, I often rely on my phone’s LTE upload speeds of 25-30Mbps, which are far better than my home cable’s miserly 4Mbps, to upload some files/documents especially when short on time.

  • Kevin

    That’s great news! Even tho I have no idea what is Dual Carrier HSPA+… as long as Wind is constantly improving..

    • Nexzen

      double the speed in data. I used to receive 7mbps now 18mbps.

  • MassDeduction

    Would love to consider Wind, if only they’d roll out coverage to Victoria B.C. I renewed a 3 year Fido agreement in early 2012, after Wind launched, and it comes up for renewal in early 2015.

    • cayaguy

      WIND does have *home* coverage in victoria bc. You just can’t get a local number there yet beause they haven’t actually *launched* the network.

    • MassDeduction

      I guess they put in some coverage for Vancouver (et al) customers roaming in Greater Victoria? But why go to that expense and not spend a little more and get Victoria customers on board too?

    • Deddyman

      Back in 2010, Victoria was part of WIND’s planned launch cities. They built out a number of towers out there but due to the bureaucracy of acquiring enough land to build towers and the difficulty of the terrain for AWS they could not guarantee 100% coverage. Hence the towers are still there and turned on, but not advertised.

  • Nexzen

    Parts of north york are already 42.2mbps. In real life I receive about 18mbps download and 2.3mbps upload.

  • nuclearbroccoli

    Whoopie.. This is like being able to drive 50km/h faster, but only in the city, and half the roads are blocked off or in need of repair.

    • Kevin

      I’m a Very Happy Wind customer. I have good coverage in my area and the places I go. I regularly tether my iPad to my phone which makes my $30 unlimited talk, text and data plan a really good value. I can’t use Flipboard on my phone while on cellular data, but I can on my iPad. I can’t figure that out but outside of that I think Wind rocks!

    • McNucklefuts

      That is very strange! It always worked for me

  • Martini

    Finally joined them at the end of December and haven’t looked back. Telling friends and family with coverage in their area to strongly consider them.

  • AGoodM8

    Does Vancouver (particularly downtown) benefit from this yet? 360 out of 1,408 towers have upgraded to DC-HSPA+ 42 Mbps theoretical throughput, that’s 25% of them. One would think some of those are located here.

    • AGoodM8

      I see. So that means actual speeds in Vancouver city proper should now be 10-20 Mbps in lots of areas? If so, that’s great. Only reason I asked is because I don’t use much data as I am on the grandfathered “Pay Your Way” plan. I get unlimited texts and incoming calls for ~$6.67/mo (by topping up $40 every 180 days). I also have a $2 daypass giving me unlimited everything for the day when I need it but … I rarely do given how little I call people or need data thanks to all those free Shaw Go WiFi and #TELUS outdoor WiFi hotspots. Gotta love WiFi.

  • xmai77

    I hope they put up towers along the 401 corridor between Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. I’m holding off on switching to Wind for this one reason.

    • JayC

      WIND has no spectrum in Quebec so there will never be any towers on the 401 into Montreal

      Ottawa and eastern Ontario is well blanketed by Videotron, I doubt WIND is going to build that out

      401 between Toronto and Kingston is possible but that will take a back seat to first covering 401 between Toronto and London (possibly Windsor) because that goal is much easier to achieve today and has more population

      Realistically, when the new regulated roaming rates become law, You won’t need coverage all along the 401 – That is what you should be waiting for…

    • xmai77

      Thanks for the informative reply! I’m situated in Ottawa so I’m really just waiting for service between Toronto and Ottawa. Even if the roaming rates are regulated, you can still burn through quite a lot of data during the 4 hour drive between Toronto and Ottawa. Here’s to hoping towers get put up in the next couple of years.

    • Behrad Ghob

      You don’t have to put your phone on roaming by the way. You can force your phone to look for only wind Home signals and disable roaming entirely in the my account settings too. IT does suck but its one way to avoid unnecessary fees.

  • fruvous

    Wind only has about 10MHz in most markets, where are they going to get the extra bandwidth to go dual channel? Toronto is already very congested.

  • Steven Tremblay

    If it wasn’t for the spotty coverage, I would make the switch to WIND (even if it is AWS). As it is, WIND isn’t even available in Quebec. Instead, we have Videotron and there’s NO WAY those SEPARATISTS are getting a single dime from me. Hopefully, WIND will improve it’s coverage…

    • The Rooty’s Tweeties

      They and t-mobile use the same aws frequencies, if they both have unlimited data talk and text, it’s pretty awesome, just higher prices (but what do I know, i’m in toronto.).

  • hoo dat

    The only time I’ve seen 21Mb/s on a WIND device was on a visit to the UK where I was getting ~23Mb/s on a WIND Z10 with a T-Mobile/EE SIM, I’ve never seen anything close to that in Canada and only occasionally breaching the supposed 8Mb/s average. Most of the time I’m sitting at between 3-5Mb/s and I count myself lucky with that because often I’ll lose speed even in well covered areas in off peak hours. For instance, I ran speed tests about 10 days ago at Front/Bay outside in Toronto at 7:30pm, a place and time I usually get acceptable speeds, I averaged 0.81Mb/s down, 0.98Mb/s up, 60M/s Ping over 4 tests. The sad thing is this really hasn’t improved at all since. So where are these upgrades then?

  • ScooterinAB

    I’m sorry, but I really think this is a wasted effort. Wind has about as many customers in every market as it is going to get. The only way to grow the business is to improve coverage. Wasting money on their existing network is exactly that.

    This is just another sign that the company’s business model isn’t working. Improving their data speeds is great, but it isn’t going to bring them the customers they need. There is growth and improvement elsewhere that would be far more beneficial to the company than continuing to stay local.

    • The Rooty’s Tweeties

      It costs money to expand. What if the big three neglected their current network and expanded? It would decay and loads of complaints would flow in. WIND cannot afford to do that.

  • 5Gs

    I just got myself BB Z10 an ex owner of iphone and samsung galaxy note 2. I just sold my Note 2 and was only looking for cheaper phone. Got myself Z10 which my brother suggested as he was using it claiming it is better than iphone.

    I have to admit it. Its an extremely nice and great phone. BB has done a perfect job but they should have kept up with the market but came out a little too late.

    Till yesterday i was sure they will last long but now that they are going back to qwerty keyboard. Hmm not such a good idea. No one wants small screen any more. Trust me but wish you guys all the best though.

    • hoo dat

      Not entirely too sure what this has to do with WIND Mobile, but hey.

    • The Rooty’s Tweeties

      I think you should keep using the Z10. You aren’t required to go for a smaller screen blackberry if you love that Z10. :) (also proud owner of a Q10, bold 9900.)

  • Nasser

    I live in Detroit MI and I travel to Windsor everyday. I use to pay loads of money. Now I love the unlimited $39 from Windmobile. Its a Evolution in mobile standards.

    • Anon-e-mouse

      I was wondering whether somebody would do this!

  • Martini

    To get anything remotely close with any of the Big Three, I’d have to pay at least $70 a month, and that’s only with 1 GB. Yikes.

  • Ali

    I just switched all my 5 lines to wind from Rogers due to Rogers poor customer service and rude reps

    • Harold Mitchell

      Although I admire your optimism, if you think Rogers Customer Service was poor just wait until you need any help from Wind… you’ll be shaking your head wondering why you didn’t switch to Koodo or another provider.