Shaw Communications Inc. revealed details of a new wireless service on Thursday that will operate alongside its existing Freedom Mobile service in Alberta and British Columbia, where the company has an extensive base of residential internet and video customers.
Shaw Mobile will offer three levels of service plan — all with access to Shaw’s 450,000 wireless hotspots in Western Canada currently available to the company’s residential landline customers.
The posted prices on Shaw Mobile’s website range between $15 and $95 per month, with a one-time $20 connection fee for each line, but are currently subject to promotional discounts. In addition, new and existing Shaw internet customers will be eligible for up to six free lines.
Shaw, which operates Western Canada’s largest cable TV network, competes primarily against Telus Corp. in Alberta and B.C. Both companies offer a variety of telecom services including home internet and video, wireless phone service and business telecommunications.
Shaw’s existing Freedom Mobile service competes with Telus, Rogers and Bell in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.
The three big national carriers — which collectively have about 90 per cent of the country’s wireless market — each have three separate wireless brands, with Freedom mostly up against Telus’s Koodo, Rogers’s Fido and Bell’s Virgin.
Shaw was a late entrant into the mobile phone business in 2016, when it acquired the formerly independent Wind Mobile and its existing network in parts of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia — three of Canada’s most populated provinces.
Prior to the Wind acquisition, Shaw had decided against making the heavy investments required to set up its own mobile network, which requires spectrum licences that are auctioned periodically by the federal government. Instead, it focused on building an extensive network of WiFi hotspots in public places.
WiFi communications don’t require federal licences, making it an affordable way for smartphone users to connect with their residential internet service or to outside WiFi services offered by retailers, libraries and telecom companies.
During a week of hearings before the CRTC in February, industry executives from all of Canada’s wireless companies said posted rates are one part of the pricing equation, given there are frequent short-term promotions that can be localized within regions and even within shopping malls.
The mid-range Shaw Mobile service plan has a regular posted price of $85 per month ($45 with the launch discount) that includes 25 gigabytes of data at full speed. There are a number of conditions attached that may affect customer decisions.
All three level of service include unlimited calls to Canada, as well as unlimited incoming calls, text, pictures and video messaging. The lowest-price plan charges extra for data in $10 increments.
David Paddon, The Canadian Press
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