Monday, August 16, 2010

Do Canada's New Cell Carriers Hate Android?

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Less than a year out of the gate Wind Mobile has announced that they have already attracted 100,000 subscribers.  Mobilicity has just a couple months of service under their belt but have already signed up thousands of subscribers as well.  Just like the launches of Fido and Clearnet over a decade ago, these new cell carriers using new technology, their selection of phones isn't that great right now.

Both Wind and Mobilicity both offer the Blackberry Bold 9700 and smartphones running Windows Mobile.  Both carriers have networks that are not compatible with the iPhone.  There are plenty of phones running Google's Android operating system that are compatible with the AWS networks operated by both Wind Mobile and Mobilicity neither one offers any Android based smartphones.

For incoming cell carriers who need to do everything they can to get cell phone subscribers to switch, it's a mystery to see potential customers looking for an Android based phone having to stay with Rogers, Telus or Bell.  For the new carriers the price they have to pay for phones is much higher than what the incumbent carriers have to pay for similar phones.  The incumbent carriers have to buy more phones which means they get lower prices from handset manufacturers.  While that is big factor that determines which phones the new carriers sell, the cost of Android operating system isn't a factor.  Google provides Android to handset manufacturers for free.

The only way for Wind Mobile and Mobilicity subscribers to get a phone running Andorid is to buy an unlocked phone off the shelf and put in their SIM card.  T-Mobile runs their 3G using AWS bands.  When hunting for an Andorid phone compatible with Wind Mobile or Mobilicity won an online classified or auction site, a phone has to be unlocked of course and will need to be compatible with Advanced Wireless Spectrum or AWS, if a listing says 1700/2100 MHz or 1.7/2.1 GHz then it is an AWS model of phone.  The cost of buying an Android online for Wind Mobile or Mobilicity may be pretty high, but it's the price that needs to be paid, for now.

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