Shaw Communications buying Wind Mobile in deal valued at $1.6 billion
Shaw Communications is making its s long-anticipated foray into the wireless business by picking up Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion. The Calgary-based telecommunications company says it will acquire the country’s fourth-largest mobile operator by subscribers pending a number of regulatory approvals, including the Competition Bureau and the Ministry of Innovation, Science & Economic Development. Shaw expects the transaction to close in the third quarter of 2016. The purchase puts Shaw in line with competitors BCE, Rogers and Telus in offering the entire slate of popular bundled services, wireless, television, home phone, and Internet. “We believe that our customers want us to be their network and experience company, and in order to do that we needed to make a wireless play,’’ said Shaw chief operating officer Jay Mehr. Shaw scrapped its previous plans to introduce a mobile network in 2011, and two years later signed a deal to sell the spectrum, which would’ve been the foundation of that network, to Rogers (TSX:RCI.B). “The aspirations were always there in 2011, the economics certainly weren’t,’’ Mehr said. Wind Mobile, which is based in Toronto, has 940,000 subscribers across Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Since 2011, the federal government and the CRTC have made several changes to the rules for wireless competition which lowered roaming fees for carriers and customers.