Shaw gets new CEO, stays mum on wireless plans

Despite appointing a new leader during its quarterlyconference call on Friday, Shaw Communications Inc. isn’t changing its tune onthe progress of its wireless network — that is to say the cable giant stillrefuses to share any details about the upcoming launch.

During its quarterly financial call on Friday, theCalgary-based telecom company announced that CEO Jim Shaw would be resigninghis post in 2011 after 12 years in the role. He will move to executive chair ofthe company and make way for his younger brother, Bradley Shaw, who will takeover the reins of chief executive at the firm’s shareholder meeting next year.

“Brad has been with the company for over 20 years and hasplayed an increasingly important role in the leadership and strategic directionof our company,” Jim Shaw told financial analysts on the call before steppingaside to let his brother field questions.

In his opening statement, soon-to-be CEO Bradley Shaw saidthe company’s core business has “remained resilient” in the face of heightenedcompetition. He also addressed the company’s entrance to the wireless market asa way to “strengthen its portfolio of assets.”

During the 2008 government auction, Shaw acquired $200 millionof mobile spectrum to allow it to build a wireless phone network. The networkis widely expected to launch in late 2011.

But when pressed on the specifics of the company’s futurewireless network, Bradley Shaw declined to give any details on the technologiesthat would be used, the partners involved in building out the infrastructure,and which cities the service would launch in.

“We’re working on building out the market, but we can’t giveany more information than that,” said Bradley Shaw. He added that the companyis “on-track” with the build-out of the wireless network and is particularlyexcited about the opportunity after seeing the success of Quebecor Inc.

The company’s cable arm, Videotron, launched its HSPA+wireless network in Quebecearlier this year, taking advantage of the $554 million it paid to acquirewireless spectrum in the 2008 auction.

But despite Shaw’s reference, Videotron is actually not anewcomer to the wireless space. As a virtual wireless operator, it has beenleasing spectrum from Rogers Communications Inc. for years and packaging up theservice under its own brand.

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