Shaw Says Big 3 Carriers Should Have Tested Charging Extra for 5G Speeds

Shaw today announced its Q4 earnings, seeing $1.3 billion in revenue and $175 million in net income. The company added nearly 60,000 wireless net subscribers in the quarter, helped by the launch of Shaw Mobile.

Speaking during the company’s earnings call, Shaw president Paul McAleese said the country’s incumbents should have tested whether or not customers would be willing to pay for 5G network access.

He compared paying for 5G speeds to the road toll along the Highway 407 ETR in Toronto, Ontario, which saves commuters time when driving from Burlington to Pickering.

“It would have been nice if there was an opportunity to kind of test that and I’m not sure that we’re going to get that opportunity,” said McAleese, according to Yahoo Finance.

Rogers originally was set to charge $15/month in March 2021 for access to 5G, which requires an Infinite plan. The plans were axed earlier this month, as rivals Telus and Bell are not charging for 5G (Bell did plan for a $10/month charge but it was cancelled in June).

With carriers not charging for 5G, McAleese said the risk is “we spend billions of dollars on spectrum and build-out and simply just absorb it all.”

The Shaw president said the company is “not the driver of that particular pricing strategy,” but said if the market goes that route Shaw would “probably be the kind of the price taker on that front.”

McAleese also shed some light on iPhone 12, noting “the people buying it from us tell us they want the new iPhone but they’re not really that interested in the 5G part of it because there’s not a use case that’s really driving that.”

Apple’s new iPhone 12 models in Canada will lack mmWave 5G, as the latter is U.S.-only for now. Industry analysts have said 5G in Canada is not a game-changer just yet, as the country’s 5G wireless spectrum auction isn’t even set to take place until 2021.

Shaw added over 160,000 new wireless subscribers in its fiscal 2020, taking its total customer base to over 1,821,514. The company also recently launched a $25/25GB ‘unlimited’ data plan available to its Fibre+ Gig customers in B.C. and Alberta.