Telecommunications giant Shaw Communications recently made a bid to buy up Canadian carrier Wind Mobile. Wind, who has roughly 940,000 subscribers, is in the process of being scooped up in a $1.6 billion deal with Shaw. Supposedly, this deal will help with the government’s goal of creating a fourth super-carrier to make a real dent in the market dominance of the top 3 carriers, Rogers, Bell and Telus. The deal is still awaiting regulator approval, but predictions and plans are already being made. Among these, many analysts predict that, along with the widespread long-term impact, customers in British Columbia and Alberta will most likely see the biggest changes early on.
According to telecom analyst Maher Yaghi, the first big push is going to involve more points of sale for wireless services, pushing hard into territory that’s not only shared with other carriers, but areas where the new entity will be able to pick up bundle customers. Shaw wants people to bundle their cable, internet, phone and mobile services, essentially giving them almost total control over customers’ communication budgets. This kind of one-stop, full-dominance approach, already in use by rival Telus, is set to push consumers of Shaw and Wind’s services for one or the other begin to transition to full dominance of their living rooms by Shaw. Although it’s no promise of market dominance, it is very powerful branding that can help to get customers advertising for them via word of mouth.
Wind currently has roughly 300 stores, less than half of which litter the British Columbia and Alberta areas. Shaw will probably change that first and foremost by offering wireless products in their stores, instantly adding a sizable boost to those numbers. Shaw is also likely to begin dotting the landscape with more of their stores. This aggressive push into the bundle market will give Telus customers something to think about and allow Shaw to make strategic use of both Wind’s current customer base and their own.
Current Wind customers currently enjoy a value-oriented pricing for their services, with bills coming out, on average, to almost half of what customers of the big 3 are paying, which is a big thing in a market like Canada. Should Shaw keep this pricing intact and build on it, customers stand to gain a great bundle option for all their communications services that could effectively compete with other bundle provides like Telus who already dominate the landscape. Shaw’s plans are far from clear at the moment, but if analyst predictions are to be believed, Canada’s telecom market is about to experience a massive shakeup running outward from these two territories.