Canadian landline services provider Shaw to buy WIND Mobile for $1.6 billion
Telecom provider AT&T acquired satellite TV provider DirecTV earlier this year, enabling AT&T to claim more spectrum to better run its wireless operations with. The US telecom industry, on the whole, has seen tradewinds favoring consolidation — leveraging disparities between companies providing different verticals (landline versus cellular, TV versus phone, etc.) to morph into super-conglomerates that can provide mega-bundles to consumers.
Mobile internet has proved a valuable archstone for the taking for over a decade. It’s today that Canada has seen a major takeover in this regard.
Calgary-based Shaw Communications, which runs cable, fiber, satellite and Wi-Fi hotspot services throughout large portions of western Canada, has announced it would acquire cellular start-up WIND Mobile for 1.6 billion Canadian Dollars or more than 1.16 billion US Dollars.
As Canada’s newest (the company went into business in 2009) and fourth-largest cell network, WIND provides service to approximately 940,000 customers in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. The acquisition would extend Shaw’s telco service range into Ontario for the first time. WIND Mobile’s current management team will continue to lead what will become Shaw’s new wireless division.
Shaw discarded ambitions for a wireless network in 2013 and sold spectrum in the AWS-1 band to Rogers for 100 million Canadian Dollars. To satisfy regulators, Rogers agreed to give part of that spectrum to WIND, the carrier now being acquired by Shaw.
2013 was also the year that US carrier Verizon was rumored to have pursued an acquisition of WIND for 700 million US Dollars, something Verizon now denies.
Back in the US, Comcast has exercised an option to run a network through Verizon while French cable operator Altice has its foot the US market and is surveying its options for wireless. T-Mobile CEO John Legere has repeatedly pitched investors on the pros of the company being acquired with its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, all but ready to give it away. The least to say here is that the environment is ripe for the M&A or, at the very least, service-sharing agreements.
Pending regulatory approval, the deal will be finalized during Shaw’s third quarter of FY16.
Disclosure: Global News is a subsidiary of Shaw Communications