SAINT JOHN– Eastlink, a Nova Scotia-based wireless, cable and internet provider has officially launched its wireless services today in Saint John.
The company opened its first wireless store in the city at McAllister place on Tuesday and held a celebratory reception in the morning at the New Brunswick Museum.
The company started expanding its wireless services in New Brunswick in 2016, starting in Moncton.
“We built out a cellular network in Nova Scotia and P.E.I, so it was a natural extension from a network standpoint but we thought there was no reason why we can’t compete just on a cellular product alone,” says Eastlink CEO Lee Bragg.
“We don’t have the same ability to bundle the services together, but we think just the value of the wireless product and the service offering and our customer service is enough that it will allow us to be successful in the market.”
Eastlink boasts that it’s bringing choice and competition to the province’s wireless market by offering things such as “worry-free data”, simple pricing plans, and a contract buy-out program for those wanting to switch to Eastlink from another carrier. Bragg says this is how a smaller carrier like Eastlink can compete with the bigger providers.
“It’s a significant investment for a small company to build out a cellular network. But once you made that decision, and you can make sure the business case works, it’s actually not that hard to compete,” he says. “We’ve had a long history in Internet and cable TV and telephone, so we’ve competed with the same guys we’re competing with now in wireless for quite a while. We understand what works and what doesn’t work and we tend to think our focus on customers, customer service and simplicity . . . does make it a little easier to compete sometimes.”
Eastlink plans to open its next New Brunswick location in Fredericton at a later date. But Bragg says the plan is to eventually expand into the rest of New Brunswick.
“Ultimately our plan is to completely cover the province. But sometimes it’s based on how many customers we get and how successful we are to determine how fast we can build out the network,” he says. “But ultimately we want to get more of the network covered and be able to launch and provide service in other areas.”
Eastlink currently offers Internet, cable and home phone services in both Nova Scotia and P.E.I., but Bragg says they won’t be bringing those services to New Brunswick anytime soon.
“The challenge with that is we do not have the fixed network, the wires that go down every street. Bell does, Rogers does, and for us to invest at that level is economically really challenging,” says Bragg.
“So I’m going to say not in the near term, but you never know. Technology changes, business relationships change. I’m not going to say we don’t want to do it, but economically it doesn’t make sense for us to do that right now.”