Paul McAleese, president of Shaw Communications, tours a Shaw Mobile retail store during its launch. Photo by Jeff McIntosh

Published: July 30th, 2020

Shaw Communications launched a new mobile service, Shaw Mobile, exclusive to Alberta and B.C., and it works a bit differently from the traditional cellular data Canadians are used to.

Announced on Wednesday, the newly launched Shaw Mobile will serve to complement Freedom Mobile, Shaw’s primary mobile service. Shaw Mobile is available to everyone, but Shaw’s internet subscribers would receive package discounts.

Think of Shaw Mobile as a convergence between traditional cell service and WiFi. It offers unlimited text and talk, but it primarily delivers data over Shaw’s Go WiFi hotspots.

Shaw Communications has invested heavily in an extensive fibre optics network in Canada’s western regions. In May, the company launched its Fibre+ Gig service to 99 per cent of its customers. That same fibre optic network now drives Shaw Mobile’s data service.

Paul McAleese, president of Shaw Communications, explained that customer experience on WiFi hotspots will vary. WiFi performance is affected by factors including congestion, equipment quality, and signal quality.

To reiterate: Shaw Mobile complements Freedom Mobile. It still relies on Shaw’s LTE, which also powers Freedom Mobile and its roaming partners to deliver LTE service to areas outside of the WiFi hotspot’s service range.

There are two LTE plans: By the Gig and Unlimited. By the Gig is a pay-per-use system where users are charged $10 per gigabyte of data, starting with a base subscription of fee of $15. Any unused data will carry over to by up to 90 days. With the Unlimited plan, users get 25GB of data at full LTE speed for $85 per month, and unlimited data at a throttled speed thereafter. The user can also add on 2GB of roaming data in the U.S. and Mexico for an additional $10 per month.

Customers can also add up to six call and text lines per home account at no extra charge. Each line requires a one-time $20 activation fee.

By the Gig plan currently starts at a $0 promo rate, while the Unlimited plan starts at $45. The promotional rate is only accessible to Shaw’s internet subscribers. McAleese noted that the introductory pricing “will be with us for a number of months” but did not specify when it will end. Regular rates apply for those signing up for Shaw Mobile independently.

PlanBy the GigUnlimitedUnlimited + U.S. and Mexico
DataVaries according to purchase
  • 25GB Fast LTE (Shaw)
  • 2GB (Shaw Nationwide)
  • Unlimited thereafter at a throttled speed
  • 25GB Fast LTE (Shaw)
  • 2GB (Shaw Nationwide, U.S.  and Mexico)
  • Unlimited thereafter at a throttled speed

 

Talk
  • Unlimited calls to Canada,
  • Unlimited incoming calls
  • Unlimited calls to Canada
  • Unlimited incoming calls
  • Unlimited calls to and from Canada, U.S. & Mexico
  • unlimited incoming calls
TextUnlimited globallyUnlimited globallyUnlimited globally
Cost
  • Standalone: $15/month + $10/GB standalone
  • Shaw internet subscribers: $0/month +$10/GB 
  • Standalone: $85/month
  • Shaw internet subscribers: $45/ month
  • Standalone: $95/month
  • Shaw internet subscribers: $55 /month

Shaw Mobile does not charge a data overage fee, which McAleese described as a “toxic revenue”. When customers exceed their monthly data allowance, their speed is throttled.

Since Shaw Communications only provides internet on Canada’s west coast, it has no plans to offer Shaw Mobile or a similar service in other Canadian regions.

Eventually, Shaw Mobile will come to the enterprise, starting with small and medium businesses.

“Before we get to the enterprise market…we’re going to make sure that we have the tools and billing capabilities to meet the small and medium business market first…That’s something that’s in development now,” said McAleese. “Large scale enterprises will be the third thing that we approach. That’s not a big priority for us right now.”

McAleese expects Shaw Mobile services for small businesses to begin later this year or early next year.

Business-wise, Shaw Mobile’s primary objective is to retain Shaw’s internet subscriber base. McAleese mentioned that Shaw’s internet offerings are still facing heavy competition from other providers, and Shaw Mobile adds more value to secure its current tenants as well as to attract new ones.

Shaw Communications currently services more than 5 million internet subscribers and over 1.7 million wireless subscribers, according to its Q3 2020 financial report.

Update: The original story has been updated with Shaw Mobile’s promotional pricing for Shaw internet subscribers.

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