Shaw-WIND Network Has “Catching Up To Do” vs Big 3: OpenSignal

Shaw dropped a bombshell yesterday evening, when it announced that it will acquire Wind for $1.6 billion. In fact, the company has finally made the move it was expected to seven years ago, when it acquired wireless spectrum in a public auction. The company CEO Brad Shaw said in an interview yesterday, “wireless was a missing piece,” and since the Canadian telecom landscape is quickly evolving towards “mobile-first” products, it was the right thing to do.


By acquiring Wind, Shaw has immediate scale, spectrum, retail distribution, and a network “with a clear path to LTE” that complements the company’s existing fibre and WiFi infrastructure.

Actually, Shaw had wireless 4G spectrum, but it recently sold it to Rogers, so the deal doesn’t give the company access to a 4G network in the area where Wind has coverage — Wind recently announced that it would build its own LTE network, but customers will need to wait about 18 months to experience the change.

Since Wind runs a 3G HSPA+ network in the aforementioned areas, it can compete against the Big 3 with 3G services only. Unfortunately for Wind, real-world tests don’t favour the carrier. OpenSignal compared Wind’s 3G network to its competitors and found it to be on the slow side: Wind customers connected to its HSPA+ network at an average speed of 2.4 Mbps, while all three of Canada’s nationwide operators averaged speeds greater than 3 Mbps, the OpenSignal notes, based on data collected over a three-month period from September to November 2015:

• Wind: 2.4 Mbps
• Rogers: 3.1 Mbps
• Telus: 3.4 Mbps
• Bell: 4.0 Mbps

In other words, Shaw has a “lot of catching up to do if it wants to match the data performance of Canada’s major mobile providers,” OpenSignal concludes.

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  • Jeff Artiss

    Looking forward to this change. Hopefully they will be available soon out West.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Quote from Shaw CEO:” I see pricing somewhat discounted, but probably closer to the incumbents as we go forward.” Well THAT didn’t take long & I now have my answer. Now competition is DEAD in the Canadian wireless industry. Truly a sad day for consumers!

  • nando

    Why would leaving in droves be of benefit? Would you prefer people leave and go to Rogers? Bell? Telus? How I’ll that help pricing be competitive. Ultimately if the upgrades are made (deal with Nokia is great), taking advantage of the benefits of the Shaw’s existing 80,000 plus wifi spots and between that and there continues to be a “somewhat discounted” service, what is wrong with that? I personally like discounts, and I’ll take small discounts over none. I’ll take a wait and see approach.

  • Ashley Mann

    There will be no change. Wind will go coast to coast and the plans will match Bell that match Rogers that match Telus. It will all remain just as it is now. Even the government will say the same statements from the past saying “Wind highlights this governments comitment to a competitive market lowering consumers cost while improving service and reliability across Canada” and then proclaim, “a competitive market is a win for all Canadians”.

    We know what to expect. Keep it real boys!

  • Damian

    Can’t wait for Wind to catch us, the other three are just money sharks.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Re-read the first sentence. Discounts will gradually phased out.

  • karinatwork

    Here’s what’s going to happen: If you look at cable pricing and internet pricing, they are all in cahoots together, and pretty much offer the same jacked up rates through the bench. There is no shopping around for better rates – it’s all the same. This will also happen with wireless offerings. They will all charge the same, and nobody can do a fucking thing about it.