Shaw Communications drops Capex despite 5G network push

Shaw Communications said its revenue rose 8.8 percent to C$1.36 billion and operating income grew 13.5 percent to $545 million in the first quarter ended November 30, 2018.
Shaw Communications investment
The Canadian telecom operator added 86,000 post-paid customers. Shaw Communications improved wireless post-paid churn from 1.64 percent to 1.28 percent over the last year due to enhancements to network and customer experience.

Capex drops

Its quarterly capital expenditures (Capex) decreased by $68 million in the first quarter to $271 million despite a major 5G push. Wireless Capex of Shaw Communications dipped by $50 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2019.

Wireline Capex of Shaw Communications fell by $18 million primarily due to fewer network upgrades and decreased deployment of customer premise equipment.

The company aims to spend C$1.2 billion towards Capex in the full financial year to improve coverage and customer experience.

“Investments in the wireless network, retail footprint expansion and deployment of low band spectrum are expected to increase over the coming quarter and for the remainder of fiscal 2019,” Shaw Communications said in a statement.

The Calgary-based Shaw Communications completed its first 5G technical trials in Calgary in May 2018.

Brad Shaw, chief executive officer of Shaw Communications, said: “Our strategy to invest and focus on growing our wireless post-paid market share has delivered another quarter of strong results.”

The deployment of its 700 MHz spectrum is approximately 25 percent complete, including initial deployment in all its major markets. Deployment of this low band spectrum provides customers with more coverage and better indoor wireless reception.

Shaw Communications’ Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) is available on approximately 35 devices on Freedom’s network representing approximately 800,000 of its total subscriber base.

Shaw Communications completed the launch of 140 new retail locations with Walmart and is now operating in 240 national retail locations across its footprint with Loblaws’ The Mobile Shop and Walmart. Freedom Mobile now has over 600 retail locations in operation.

Shaw Communications added approximately 66,000 wireless customers with the addition of 86,000 post-paid customers and loss of 20,000 pre-paid customers. The company had added 34,000 RGUs in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

Wireless revenue increased 60 percent to $273 million. Service revenue increased 32 percent to $167 million and equipment revenue of $106 million compared to $44 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

Growth in wireless revenue was due primarily to subscriber growth, the growing penetration of Big Gig data plans and higher equipment sales. ABPU grew 12 percent year-over-year to $41.99 reflecting the increased number of customers. ARPU increased almost 7 percent to $38.64 compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

Wireline customer base fell by approximately 52,800 in the quarter compared to a loss of approximately 34,000 in the first quarter of fiscal 2018. Wireline revenue rose 0.7 percent to $1,083 million.