New wireless competitor Wind Mobile has amassed more than 100,000 wireless subscribers across Canada since its launch in December, 2009, though it is unclear how many came aboard through aggressive promotional activity.
The number, which the company reached in early July, came out as Wind's Egyptian financial and operational backer, Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, reported its second-quarter financial earnings on Thursday. The number is at the higher end of analysts' estimates and considered "decent."
Wind chairman Anthony Lacavera, who waged a high-profile battle to launch cellphone service after his company ran afoul of foreign ownership restrictions, called the results "awesome" and said he was hurting the wireless incumbents, BCE Inc.'s Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp.
"We're pummelling them," Mr. Lacavera said in an interview. "We added subscribers in our coverage area at twice the speed of incumbents in the same time frame."
Analysts had expected between 80,000 and 100,000 subscribers for Wind, which has not been fully present in all of its current markets - Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa - for the eight months from its December launch to the end of Orascom's second quarter.
Greg MacDonald, a telecom analyst with National Bank Financial Inc., said the results came in above his estimates, but that it is crucial to determine how many came to Wind after an aggressive $150 promotion that encourages Rogers' customers to abandon their plans and sign with Wind. There is also a promotional offer of 50 per cent off a smart phone data plan for a year, which is only valid in the back-to-school season.
"The subsidy will impact profitability, whereas the half-price offer will affect [the average revenue per user]" Mr. MacDonald said. "I presume these guys want to get back to a more rational pricing environment."
Previously, Mr. Lacavera said Wind plans to reach 1.5 million subscribers by the end of the company's third year. Mr. MacDonald said the company would appear to be off its original estimates and may have to continue promotions. However, he said "it is way too early to draw major conclusions" from one subscriber number.
Mr. Lacavera acknowledged that the company has had some difficulties getting its network up and operational, but that some Canadians are clearly dissatisfied with the more established companies; two of these, Rogers and Bell, have recently announced they would introduce new, cheaper unlimited talk-and-text plans.
"We still have a lot of work to do," Mr. Lacavera said. "But we're clearly having an impact."