Home » Canada »Competition »Public Policy & Gov't »Shaw » Currently Reading:

Shaw Invades Ontario With Approval of Mountain Cablevision Acquisition, Becomes Canada’s Largest Cable Operator

Phillip Dampier October 29, 2009 Canada, Competition, Public Policy & Gov't, Shaw No Comments
Mountain Cablevision becomes part of the Shaw Cable family with the approval of the CRTC

Mountain Cablevision becomes part of the Shaw Cable family with the approval of the CRTC

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has given approval to Shaw Communications for its acquisition of Hamilton-based Mountain Cablevision, Ltd., a small independent cable operator in southern Ontario.  The $300 million dollar transaction brings 41,000 cable customers, 29,000 Internet subscribers, 30,000 digital phone lines, and 135 Mountain Cablevision employees into the Shaw family, making the Calgary-based cable company Canada’s largest.

“This is a great move for us to come in there and be able to start being around that market. We always said that […] we want to be in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario,” Shaw chief executive Jim Shaw said Friday.

“Rogers had passed on the acquisition so we decided to go in there,” Shaw told analysts. “This is a great move for us, being around that market.”

Mountain Cablevision serves a small part of Hamilton and surrounding communities in southern Ontario

Mountain Cablevision serves a small part of Hamilton and surrounding communities in southern Ontario

Shaw’s entry into Ontario upset Rogers Communications, eastern Canada’s dominant cable provider.  Rogers sued Shaw in an Ontario court, claiming the purchase violated a near-decade long agreement made personally between Ted Rogers and Jim Shaw to stay out of each other’s territories — Shaw stays out of eastern Canada if Rogers moves no further west than Ontario.

Canadian courts aren’t compelled to recognize handshake deals made over dinner, and the court ruled against Rogers.

With the agreement swept away, some analysts predict Rogers will investigate acquisition opportunities in western Canada, probably in the more populated regions.

Shaw claims it will upgrade Mountain Cablevision’s small cable footprint, which serves only a portion of greater Hamilton – Hamilton Mountain and East Hamilton, as well as the communities of Mount Hope, Caledonia, Hagersville, Jarvis, Dunnville/Byng, Cayuga and Binbrook, all in Ontario.  The company promises better broadband, cable, and telephone service after the upgrades are complete.  Shaw also says it will expand the Mountain Cablevision system into several unserved neighborhoods and townships.  That’s an important distinction, because it indicates Shaw has no intention of competing head to head with Rogers or Ontario’s other dominant cable company Cogeco.

The deal comes during challenging times for Shaw, who announced a 6% decline in profits in the fourth quarter, with gains only from new digital cable additions.  More than 110,000 Shaw customers signed up for digital cable in the third quarter, up from 23,000 in the third quarter a year ago.

In other areas, Shaw lost customers — 5,000 canceling broadband, 4,500 dropping Shaw’s direct to home satellite service, and nearly 9,000 disconnecting their Shaw digital phone line.

Shaw’s next product introduction will likely be its new cell phone service.  The company spent $190 million dollars last year acquiring 18 airwave licenses in northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Mountain Cablevision's concentrated service area in the city of Hamilton

Mountain Cablevision's concentrated service area in the city of Hamilton (click to enlarge)

But Shaw is taking a “very cautious approach” to wireless mobile services, according to the company.  It has refused to set a timetable when service would begin.  Shaw faces a growing number of wireless competitors introducing service in Canada late this year and into early 2010.  DAVE Wireless, Wind Mobile, and Public Mobile are all poised to launch in major Canadian cities, expecting to put competitive pressure on pricing and bring about lower priced, more generous service plans.

Shaw claims it’s not concerned, telling The Financial Post, “If they’re in there, we don’t really care. We already have a relationship with customers and they have zero,” Shaw said. “We have 3.4 million customers we have a relationship every month with.”

Telecommunications companies are increasingly concerned with offering customers “bundles” of telecommunications services from video, broadband, wired phone lines, and now increasingly wireless data and mobile phone services.  Customers purchasing bundles tend to remain loyal to the companies offering them.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Ginny: Frank Sinatra is dead....
  • Peter Herz: This is mostly accurate except that they're not doing the 4G LTE throttling as of Oct 1st 2014 major announcement....
  • Drema: Jack I have had Frontier for years. Only provider available in my area. It doesn't work right and has never worked right. I work from home and I need ...
  • Brittney ward: I'm currently standing at Comcast trying to have this exact issue resolved. If anyone has any helpful advice I would very much appreciate it. I am als...
  • WalterH: So the new business speeds were announced - and they're awful. 75/10, 150/20, 500/50, and 1000/100 are the NON-SYMMETRICAL speeds. Like businesses d...
  • John: I just noticed on my most recent invoice Shaw is increasing my BB 250 from $120 to $130 Jan 1st 2015. That's over an 8% increase while I'll HOPEFULLY ...
  • Scott: For corporations at that size they typically expect a 10-20x return on every dollar spent (that's at the very low end) lobbying the government for ben...
  • StrykerX: I really don't think they have to much to worry about in this regards, as Comcast typically will incorporate services and usually expands upon them wh...
  • Phillip Dampier: Here in upstate New York, part of the northeast division, there is a pretty clear line between different metro areas - Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, A...
  • Ian L: Seven areas isn't exactly an "only" proposition; remember that TWC upgrades entire markets at a time. So when Austin was upgraded, so was Fredericksbu...
  • Ian L: That assumes that Comcast will immediately "harmonize" tiers to their more expensive/slower options. Judging by the fact that they're pushing their st...
  • mattf: I've actually been pretty happy with TWC customer service and the internet service they get to my house, so I'm against the merger. I emailed the C...

Your Account: