Shaw Communications Inc.’s recent $1.6 billion purchase of Wind Mobile Corp. won’t automatically translate into a wireless speed boost for its user base, according to mobile signal mapper OpenSignal.com.
The British-based OpenSignal.com distributes free Android and iOS apps for collecting wireless data from more than six million users around the world.
“While the purchase of Wind will give it more options for building a 4G network in the future, in the interim Shaw will have to compete against Canada’s other operators with 3G services only,” an OpenSignal spokesperson said in a statement.
Calgary-based Shaw made the surprise announcement this past Wednesday it has put in an offer to buy the parent company of startup Wind Mobile contingent on federal government approval. Wind, with a user base of approximately 940,000, features a 3G HSPA+ network and currently operates primarily in major cities in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.
During a conference call Thursday, Wind Mobile CEO Alek Krstajic said Wind will continue to function as a standalone entity, and added the network value proposition will continue to be focused on being a “lower-cost wireless alternative.”
As its chief executive officer, Krstajic will continue to oversee the wireless business. Wind’s spectrum provides 50 Mhz of coverage across its core operating footprint; the news means the ability to enhance the network, broaden the headset lineup to include higher-end mobile devices, and also “cross-sell” Wind services to Shaw’s business customers, company executives said.
Indeed, Canadian businesses will be keeping an eye to see if the recent announcements ultimately make Wind a strategic choice for their wireless network communications. Earlier this month, Wind had announced a partnership agreement wth Nokia Networks to start the process of rolling out LTE technology and had recently embarked on boosting network performance in the Greater Vancouver area, the first part of a cross-Canada network upgrade.
Given that Canada’s 4G networks are currently being clocked at around 18 Mbps on average, Shaw — currently operating WiFi, cable and fibre networks across Western Canada — still has some ground to cover to keep pace with the data performance of the major mobile carriers (BCE Inc.’s Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications and Telus Corp.), according to OpenSignal.