TORONTO (Reuters) - Wind Mobile, one of the smallest players in Canada's wireless market, said on Thursday it was offering a new low-cost unlimited U.S. roaming plan, a traditionally lucrative niche for its much larger competitors.
Wind, backed by Europe's Vimpelcom Ltd, said it would offer customers unlimited data, talk and text while traveling in the United States for C$15 ($13.42) a month.
The offer is a direct challenge to Canada's three largest mobile operators - Rogers Communications Inc, BCE Inc's Bell, and Telus Corp - who charge much more to keep their customers connected while south of the border.
"While wireless prices in the Canadian marketplace remain very high, we at Wind Mobile continue to challenge expectations and offer our customers real value," Wind's chief operating officer, Pietro Cordova, said in a statement.
Neither Rogers, Telus or Bell currently offer unlimited data, talk and text U.S. roaming plans.
The top of the line U.S. travel pack offered by Rogers, the largest Canadian wireless carrier, is a C$300 add-on that gives its users 500 minutes of talk-time, 1 gigabyte of data and unlimited sent text messages.
Wind, which has more than 650,000 customers mostly in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, has struggled to make gains against the big players since it began operating a few years ago.
The company had to withdrew from an auction of airwaves now being conducted after Vimpelcom declined to provide the necessary financial support.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Euan Rocha; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Stephen Powell)