Wind Mobile has built its Canadian subscriber base by 17 per cent in the past year to 702,000 users but its foreign owner is still looking for a way to sell the small Canadian wireless startup.

VimpelCom Ltd., an Amsterdam-based company whose backers include a Russian conglomerate, released worldwide financial results on Wednesday that show Wind improved its average revenue per customer by 12 per cent to about $31.

It does not break out revenue or profit numbers for the Canadian unit, but the parent company reported $39 million US in profit worldwide in what it called a “challenging” market for telecom.

Seeking a buyer

VimpelCom wrote down the value of Wind Mobile to zero in March, saying it was seeking a buyer for the company.  The federal government has said it will block any sale of spectrum to the Big 3 telecom companies – Bell, Telus or Rogers.

Bloomberg reports that VimpelCom chief executive Jo Lunder said in a telephone interview the company may sell its Canadian unit or "swap it for stake in larger operator working in the country."

VimpelCom may be hoping for a deal with Quebecor, whose Videotron unit has won new spectrum outside of Quebec.  

Quebecor's CEO Pierre Dion said last week the company is in talks with the federal government over expanding its wireless business in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta/

Wind, one of three new entrants who began operating after winning spectrum in the 2008 wireless auction, recently began offering a $39 North American unlimited text, voice and data plan and a $15 a month unlimited roaming plan which may be drawing new subscribers.

“We have started this year strong thanks to industry firsts including being the first Canadian telecommunications company to offer U.S. unlimited roaming and we will continue to provide Canadians with the value, simplicity and true mobile freedom they have come to expect from WIND Mobile, while we continue our growth as Canada’s fourth national carrier,” the Canadian company said in a statement.