The shakeup in Canada’s cell phone sector has caused aftershocks in Weston.
Mobilicity and Public Mobile are new wireless providers starting up in Weston and elsewhere in the GTA. Because newly-available radio spectrum was auctioned in 2008, entrants were able to compete with the three incumbent oligopolists: Bell, Telus and Rogers.
The challengers’ advantages? Price and freedom. “A lot of people are fed up with contracts”, says Saleem Muhammad, Mobilicity’s manager in Weston. “All of our plans are unlimited, and you can stop your service whenever you want.”
They are now are scrambling to lure Canadians out of long contracts, and establishing a beachhead of storefronts has been a part of that effort. Wind Mobile, the first entrant to start selling plans, has had a rough start in part because it had no storefronts of its own, only kiosks in Blockbuster Video stores.
Public Mobile and Mobilicity appear to have learned from Wind’s experience and are leasing many locations across the GTA, including in Weston. Mobilicity’s Weston location has been open since the 15th, and Public Mobile’s has been open for about a month. According to emplyees, both have had a slow start, but they are upbeat about building momentum.