Videotron has joined the wireless fray in Canada with yesterday's launch of its HSPA+ network in Quebec.
With its 3G+ service, Videotron is going toe-to-toe for wireless customers with Rogers and Bell in Quebec, as well as recent newcomer Public Mobile.
While Videotron will no doubt have to win and keep customers from the competition, its wireless service costs less the more its subscribers opt for other bundled services from the cable operator.
With a quadruple-play bundle, the cost of Videotron's phone service can be as low as $32.95 per month, while customers that want just the phone service can pay up to $49.95 per month with the option of $6 more for unlimited messaging and e-mails anywhere in Quebec.
Videotron's service is also available in Montreal and in zones between Montreal and Quebec. All of Videotron's plans include free unlimited local and long-distance calls between residential and business customers with mobile or cable telephone services from Videotron, which means mobile users won't eat up their minutes.
"Videotron's 3G+ service reflects the goal we have pursued throughout this project: providing the best-possible customer experience through one-stop shopping to make life easier for consumers," said Robert Depatie, president and CEO of Videotron. "Not only is our offering highly advantageous in this respect, but it is particularly attractive for our existing customers, who can get exceptional rates. We remain true to our policy of offering substantial discounts to customers who choose our service bundles."
Videotron's mobile network currently supports data transfer speeds of up to 21 Mbps but will eventually ramp up to 42 Mbps, thanks to dual-carrier HSPA+ technology. Videotron, a subsidiary of Quebecor, expects to have the service rolled out to its entire footprint by the end of next year.
Videotron's illico mobile service also made its debut yesterday, as well, which gives Videotron customers access to 1,000 hours of free content, a catalogue of nearly 2,000 television programs and series, 28 television channels – 10 of them live – and 45 music channels.
Videotron launched its TV Everywhere  Web portal, illico web, in June.
On the handset front, Videotron is offering its customers a choice of 12 phones to choose from, all of which will work with its illico mobile service and enable remote DVR programming.
Choices include the Google Nexus One (HTC), which Videotron said was being offered by an operator for the first time in Canada, making Videotron the first Canadian service provider to carry a handset loaded with the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system; the Nuvifone A5, the first Garmin phone in Canada, with free traffic info and alerts included for three years; the Motorola XT720; and the entry-level Huawei U3200.
Videotron has a deal in place with Rogers that allows its subscribers to roam outside of its footprint.
"Today's announcement caps a $1 billion investment that has created over 1,000 jobs," Depatie said. "I thank our people for all the effort they have devoted to this project. The result, the creation of a new 3G+ infrastructure in two years, attests to the expertise we have developed in multi-platform integration and the depth of our 40 years of experience in communications technology."