Rogers Looks to Strengthen 5G Position with Acquisition of Canada's Fourth Largest Carrier, Shaw Communications

Rogers Communications is to acquire Shaw Communications in a transaction valued at $20.8 billion. The 5G opportunity is the key focus of the merger. At present, Rogers is in the lead for 5G rollouts in Canada and remains well-positioned to monetize 5G while leveraging its premium subscriber base. The deal will allow Rogers to be more aggressive with its 5G investment and rollouts.

5G investments, Infrastructure and Existing Spectrum Assets

  • Rogers will gain access to Shaw Communication’s existing spectrum assets, especially in low-band and mid-band, which will be crucial for rural and suburban 5G coverage.
  • It will also solidify Roger’s position going into the mid-band, 3.5 GHz spectrum auction that is scheduled for mid-2021, and possible mmWave auctions towards the end of 2021.
  • For Shaw, the decision comes at a crucial time where it is required to make huge investments into 5G as the industry transitions.
  • The news comes amid the debate for a bigger role for MVNOs to make the wireless industry more competitive. Meanwhile, Shaw Communications remained the fourth largest wireless operator and a key facilities-based competitor for the big three Canadian carriers – Rogers, TELUS and Bell.

Regional Play for Rogers to Gain Subscribers

  • The deal will help Rogers gain more share in three key regions – Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
  • In Ontario, the deal will further strengthen Rogers’ position and allow it to further gain a higher share of premium subscribers, as Freedom mobile has a strong subscriber base in Ontario.
  • It will also allow Rogers to penetrate the Western provinces while tapping into Shaw Communications’ wireline and wireless subscriber base. At present, TELUS remains dominant in British Columbia.
  • There is also an emphasis on filling the connectivity gap that is currently in the rural regions of Western Canada, specifically with Alberta and its steadily growing population.
  • Shaw has a stronger presence in Western Canada, so Rogers gains access to a market where it can use its resources to improve network connectivity and the push for 5G rollouts in that region.
  • Rogers has already allocated $2.5 billion in investments to the implementation of 5G networks in Western Canada and an additional $3 billion on supporting additional network, services, and technology investments.
  • But the key challenge for Rogers is in maintaining its high ABPU (average billing per user) following the acquisition. Shaw Communications’ ABPU remains significantly lower than the big three Canadian carriers – Rogers, TELUS, Bell.

Drawing Comparisons with T-Mobile-Sprint, Deal Likely to Come Under Scrutiny

  • The deal is likely to see some resistance as competition in the wireless industry remains a hot topic in Canada. Shaw Communications (owns Freedom Mobile and Shaw Mobile brands) served as a key competitor and challenged the industry with aggressive wireless plans.
  • The transaction is similar to the T-Mobile-Sprint deal earlier in the US, where both companies pitched synergies, investment in 5G, focus on rural and creation of more jobs, as highlights of the deal.
  • On the retail side, we can expect some retail restructuring, but this will depend on the details of the Rogers-Shaw deal in relation to retail locations. Despite Sprint having a lot of brand recognition, and Sprint physical stores were transitioned to the T-Mobile incredibly quickly.
  • Overall, the deal is likely to be hotly debated in the coming weeks while it is under government review. It is also likely to draw some regulatory pressure with respect to the competitiveness of the industry.
Hanish is an Associate Director with Counterpoint Technology based in Toronto, Canada. He has 8+ years of industry experience in providing market research and strategic consulting across various industry sectors. He tracks developments in the mobile handset, telecom and IoT industry value chain. He brings in the vast experience of providing advisory services to OEMs & component manufacturers, network operators, private equity firms and technology companies. He played a pivotal role in helping Chinese OEMs set up their manufacturing base in India under the “Make in India” program.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.