Shaw Cancels Cellular Network Plans
The CBC is reporting that Shaw has cancelled its plans for a nationwide cellular network, so the hopes of another new entrant into the Canadian wireless market are dashed. Citing $1B in capital expenditures and difficulty in competing with the incumbents, Shaw will forego its plans, and may decide to sell its wireless spectrum to one of the new players Wind, Mobilicity, or Public Mobile.
What’s interesting is Shaw stated that wifi is free and they can more easily set up a wifi network than a cellular network.
“Given that Wi-Fi spectrum is free and there are no device subsidies, we can build extensive Wi-Fi coverage at a substantially lower cost relative to a traditional wireless network and still provide our customers with an excellent broadband wireless experience,” Shaw said.
Maybe this means a city-blanketing wifi network that you can pay to have access to. wifi capable devices such as iPhones and iPod touches can be activated using a VOIP client similar to Shaw’s home phone, and it would work anywhere in the city. Of course getting wifi stations in sparsely populated areas isn’t exactly practical, but for denser regions, a home phone that works in the city might be plenty for most people. Interesting idea.
The other option is that Shaw might choose to buy out one of the new wireless companies, or perhaps even merge. With the lines between mobile and home broadband becoming blurred, it may make sense for a wireless-only and wired-only company to merge in order to more effectively compete with the big three.
One thing is for sure, Shaw’s home broadband plans are second to none in Canada right now, so a buyout of Shaw by Rogers would be a terrible thing for consumers.