December 17, 2015 12:37 pm
Updated: December 17, 2015 4:43 pm

B.C., Alberta consumers to see changes soon from Shaw-Wind deal

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Shaw’s blockbuster deal for Wind Mobile is set to shake up the national scene for telecom services over the long term, experts suggested Thursday. But initially, Canadians in Alberta and British Columbia will see the biggest changes, and soon.

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In the coming months, consumers in those provinces will see more points of sale for cellphone services, more options to bundle TV, Internet, phone and wireless services together and more competition for the portion of the household budget that is spent on communications and entertainment services.

“[Shaw] is going to focus its attention on Wind’s markets where it will be able to bundle products,” Maher Yaghi, telecom expert at Desjardins Securities, said.

MORE: Shaw CEO says time is right for Wind takeover

Part of that game plan will mean ramping up points of sale for wireless services in Western Canada. Less than a third of Wind’s 300 or so retail locations are in B.C. and Alberta. The geographic mix should change quickly as Calgary-based Shaw introduces wireless into its stores and pursues new points of sale, experts say.

“Shaw will begin to open more locations in Western Canada over the coming months,” Yaghi predicted.

Bundling

Consumers can also expect Shaw to layer wireless services into its product offerings – something Shaw’s chief rival in Western Canada, Telus, has been using to win over customers in recent years.

“The acquisition opens up synergistic opportunities for bundling, cross-selling [and] higher customer retention,” Aravinda Galappatthige, analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said.

“Shaw will try to become a more focused bundled services operator in Alberta and British Columbia,” Desjardins’ Yaghi added. “Telus could be more impacted than Rogers and Bell if Shaw is able to more effectively bundle services.”

Pricing

Ultimately, consumers in Western Canada will see over the coming year how their telecom bills will be affected by the move.

Wireless customers in B.C. and Alberta moving over from incumbent providers Rogers, Bell and Telus to Shaw’s new wireless platform could benefit from Wind’s “value-oriented” pricing if that’s left intact. Wind’s average monthly bill is around $36 versus $63 for Rogers, Bell and Telus customers.

“The next few months will be very important to see if Shaw stays the course with this value oriented strategy,” Yaghi said.

Shaw chief operating officer Jay Mehr suggested there’s no current plan to alter Wind pricing.

“This is a winning strategy that’s been created, and our plan is to continue on that winning strategy,” Mehr said.

Shaw should assume full control of Wind by the spring, the company and experts believe. Shaw is also the parent company of Global News.

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