Shaw Communications Inc. has launched a new wireless service it hopes will help it hang on to its internet customers in Western Canada, where it faces stiff competition from Vancouver-based Telus Corp.
The Calgary-based cable company revealed pricing details Thursday for its new Shaw Mobile service, which will be available as part of a bundle to its internet customers in Alberta and British Columbia.
The goal, said Shaw Communications president Paul McAleese, is to help the company return to a 50-per-cent internet market share in those provinces.
“There continues to be, frankly, a lot of movement [of customers] between ourselves and our primary competitor in Western Canada,” Mr. McAlesse said Wednesday.
“For the last number of years we’ve felt that our market share was inadequate, and it’s our expectation now that we will use Shaw Mobile to help reset that to more like a 50-50 share,” he said.
The plans to launch a Shaw-branded mobile service have been in the works for some time, though analysts have said the company would likely wait until its network was good enough to compete effectively with Telus, Rogers Communications Inc. of Toronto and Montreal-based BCE Inc.‘s Bell Canada.
Shaw has been lagging in acquiring new internet subscribers, Bank of Nova Scotia analyst Jeff Fan said in a note to clients before Shaw released details of the new service. The cable company has also been losing television subscribers, while the popularity of Telus’s internet protocol television (IPTV) service, Optik TV, has grown.
Kaan Yigit, president of consultancy firm Solutions Research Group, said Rogers Communications Inc. and BCE Inc.‘s Bell Canada are likely to be more affected, as nearly half of their mobile subscribers live in households with Shaw internet or TV service. Those customers could be lured by the savings opportunity, particularly as Canadians are tightening their belts in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Yigit said.
“We believe impact on Telus will be muted as two-in-three Telus mobile customers live in a household with a Telus Internet or TV product,” Mr. Yigit said in an e-mail before details about Shaw Mobile were announced. It’s harder to convert these households which have bundled services, he said.
On Thursday, Shaw announced that its internet customers in Alberta and B.C. will be able to add up to six mobile phone lines with unlimited talk and text for no additional monthly cost.
Those customers will be able to add unlimited wireless data for $45 a month, or opt for a pay-as-you-go option that will allow them to purchase mobile data as needed, at a cost of $10 per gigabyte. Customers who don’t have Shaw internet will be able to get the service at higher rates.
The company, which also owns wireless carrier Freedom Mobile, has no plans to offer the service outside of Western Canada, Mr. McAlese said.
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