Shaw’s Freedom Mobile will eventually become one of Canada’s ‘Big 4’ wireless carriers, predicts Barclays analyst Phillip Huang, in a research note obtained by The Financial Post.
According to the analyst, “the pieces are falling into place” for Freedom Mobile to gain new subscribers and become a major wireless player, “a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’,” he explains.
Freedom Mobile is set to expand its wireless network as its 700 MHz and 2500 MHz radio spectrum recently purchased from Videotron will set to be implemented, set to cost $350 million to deploy.
Earlier this year, Shaw president Jay Mehr, said at a telecom and media forum in Toronto, “The future of our business is to be a powerful player in wireless with millions and millions and millions of subscribers.” Freedom Mobile aims to gain 25 per cent of the wireless market in the areas it operates, following a similar goal of wireless player Videotron in Quebec.
Huang says the “lacklustre” performance from Freedom Mobile lately is on purpose, as “It seems to reflect management’s deliberate efforts to not appear disruptive to the incumbents before Shaw is ready.”
Freedom Mobile’s existing wireless network still lacks in quality and speed versus incumbents, but the network can now support iPhones, as Apple’s latest iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X includes Band 66 AWS LTE support.
According to the analyst, he expects Shaw to start selling iPhones within the next six months. With the iPhone being one of the most popular smartphones in Canada, it’s crucial for Shaw to strike a deal to carry the device.
Earlier this month, Shaw filed trademarks for Shaw Mobile, Shaw Wireless and Shaw Mobility on as seen in the Canadian Trademarks Database, suggesting it’s ready to continue pushing further into the wireless space.