The people of Kelowna now have one more choice for cellphone plans with the opening of Freedom Mobile at Orchard Park Shopping Centre on Wednesday.
Special guests came to celebrate the opening of the low-cost provider, including Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, City of Kelowna Coun. Ryan Donn, Central Okanagan MP Dan Albas and Freedom Mobile’s vice-president of western operations Dean Price.
Shaw Communication’s Freedom Mobile will bring to Kelowna Canada’s most affordable unlimited data plans, the company said.
“For too long, the people of Kelowna have been starved for choice and affordability in their wireless providers—and that ends today with the arrival of Freedom Mobile,” Shaw Communications president Paul McAlesse said.
Price said the turnout to today’s opening was exceptional.
“There were people sitting in camp chairs at 7 a.m. this morning,” he said. “Kelowna has been very warm and gracious in their welcoming.”
The opening of not just the store, but the network, wouldn’t have been possible without partnerships with all levels of government, Price said.
“We needed the co-operation of all levels of government,” he said, noting the dignitaries were great co-hosts. “They were generally excited about what Freedom was bringing to the region and their constituents.”
Coun. Ryan Donn said more than 50 people were lined up out the door at the store’s opening event on Wednesday morning.
“People are saying across the board that life is getting more expensive,” Coun. Donn said. “We hear about rent, we talk about all the costs that are going up, we talk about gas prices.”
“Kelowna seems to be attracting low costs, whether it’s air carriers (West Jet’s Swoop) or cellphone providers,” Donn said. “There is excitement about that. People want to lower their monthly costs.”
MP Albas said the launch of Freedom Mobile in the Okanagan is a welcomed opportunity to boost choice in the sector.
“Competition in the mobile phone sector is essential to make sure Canadians have the choice and lower prices they deserve,” he said. “We all know that the more companies there are competing for the customer, the better off everyone will be.”
Kelownians can sign up at the store in Orchard Park Shopping Centre, Mission Park Shopping Centre, Walmart on Banks Road and Loblaws’ Mobile Shop on Baron Road. To celebrate the Okanagan launch, residents can get a special introductory offer on Freedom’s Big Gig Unlimited plans.
Coun. Donn said he was surprised by the low-cost plans and said he will be signing his daughter up.
“My daughter is going into middle school and she’s been pestering me about getting a phone,” he said. “I was going to do it today, but it was just so busy. I’ll have to go back.”
Freedom Mobile started with Canada’s main centres and now, as part of their expansion plan, it is opening networks in mid-sized cities, such as Kelowna, Red Deer and Lethbridge, Alta.
“By adding all these new markets, it adds to the footprint coverage,” Price said. “It offers more geographical opportunities to use your Freedom allotment data instead of Nationwide.”
He said it’s flattering to see other phone companies following suit and looking to Freedom Mobile for ideas.
“I’m proud and excited for the rest of Canadians because even their carriers are starting to look at the most egregious practices like data overages,” he said.
Freedom Mobile’s Kelowna entrance follows its expansion into Victoria earlier this year and its Nanaimo launch last week.
Next up on the Freedom Mobile’s docket: Penticton, Vernon and Kamloops.