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Canada's WIND Mobile making a play for more cash to expand

Chris Ziegler

There's a good deal of excitement about the value that Canada's WIND Mobile is bringing to the table -- that's the luxury of being the scrappy startup with new spectrum in a market dominated by the Old Guard -- but the big problem, of course, is that WIND's native footprint currently covers just Toronto and Calgary. The carrier's backed by Orascom on the strength of a $700 million loan that it says still gives it "ample runway" with upcoming launches in Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver, but to really go big, it's looking to raise some capital from banks right now to grow its network and "develop partnerships" that enable it to reduce or eliminate an estimated $200 to $300 million deficit over the next four years. Presumably, by "partnerships," WIND's talking about mutually-beneficial roaming and sublease / MVNO-style deals -- something it can only achieve with a sizable network of its own. Buzz will only carry these guys so far and MobileSyrup says they've only inked about 10,000 subscribers at this point, so it'll be interesting to see how and when (or even if) they can cross the line and become a legit contender against the Rogers, Bells, and Teluses (Telii?) of the world.

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