If you're in the (western) market for a new plan, it's time to consider Wind Mobile.
As of today, Wind Mobile has completed its network upgrades in all of its Western Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. With those upgrades, the company claims speeds and coverage have been drastically improved, along with perhaps the most important metric — latency.
The realization comes after Wind announced that it has completed upgrades in Edmonton as part of a drastic overhaul to its equipment that began in December in partnership with Nokia Networks. Now the company, which is owned by Shaw Communications, moves onto its biggest and most expansive market, Southern Ontario, which includes the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Barrie, Windsor, London, Niagara Region, and Peterborough. It's unclear how long it will take to make the upgrades in its biggest region.
It's been difficult to ascertain just how much improved Wind's network is in Western Canada, but some new data has shown that it is at least five to 10 times faster than its previous performance. According to Calgary-based blog Crackmacs, users can expect average download speeds of over 5Mbps and upload speeds of over 1.5Mbps, with the former spiking as high as 15Mbps depending on the day. In contrast, my Wind SIM in Toronto consistently offers me speeds of 0.3Mbps to 1Mbps down and 0.05 to 0.3Mbps up — not exactly fast.
Worse are my ping times, which spike as high as 800ms, according to my own tests. The Crackmacs data shows a huge latency disparity in Calgary of between 50ms and 250ms, but even at its most lossy it is in line with many 3G networks around the country. In other words, Wind's network should be considerably more competitive, even at these comparatively slower 3G speeds, once the cross-country upgrades are complete.
Even as it limps towards an LTE rollout, Wind Mobile's upgraded network, combined with its enormously attractive plans, such as one that offers 10GB of local data and 1GB of roaming data for $60 per month, is very compelling.