Shaw gained 60,000 net wireless subscribers in Q4 2020

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Shaw released its Q4 2020 earnings on October 30th, reporting 60,000 net wireless additions “despite the intense wireless competitive environment.” It’s worth noting this is the first earnings results from Shaw since the company launched its new Shaw Mobile wireless service in western Canada on July 30th.

The new wireless additions are a return-to-form for the company, which saw 51,000 wireless subscribers added to Freedom Mobile in Q2 2020 and a meagre 2,200 in Q3, thanks to impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns instituted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Shaw says this quarter’s improved wireless net additions reflect several market changes, including increased retail traffic and strong demand in western Canada for the company’s new Shaw Mobile offering.

Although Shaw didn’t break out how many subscribers its new Shaw Mobile offering got compared to Freedom Mobile, the company did say it saw about 45,000 postpaid and 15,000 prepaid additions. In fiscal year 2020, Shaw added more than 160,000 wireless subscribers and brought its total customer base to over 1.8 million.

Despite the improvements, Shaw also noted that COVID-19 continues to hamper business, mentioning a “less active” back-to-school season thanks to the pandemic. While 60,000 is better than last quarter, it’s still far from Shaw’s Q4 2019 results, which saw more than 90,000 wireless subscribers added to Freedom Mobile.

Shaw reported Q4 wireless revenue growth of 14.7 percent. Further, Shaw says average billing per unit (ABPU) and average revenue per unit (ARPU) grew 6.6 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. ABPU now sits at $44.81 while ARPU is $39.65. Q4 postpaid churn was 1.57 percent, a slight increase from the same time last year. Churn is the rate at which subscribers leave a carrier to go to a competitor.

The company reported soft subscriber activity in its wireline internet segment, attributing that to COVID-19. However, disconnects also remain low because of the pandemic. Shaw says customers have continued to choose the self-install approach to their internet, with adoption reaching 79 percent compared to 72 percent last quarter.

Shaw’s consolidated revenue was comparable year-over-year, with the company netting $1.35 billion in Q4 while its operating income increased 11.2 percent year-over-year to $594 million. For Shaw’s entire fiscal year, the company saw $5.41 billion in revenue, a 1.3 percent increase, with operating income leaping 11 percent to $2.39.

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