Canadian cableco Shaw Communications – including cellular division Freedom Mobile – reported that its consolidated revenues increased by 2.1% year-on-year to CAD1.38 billion (USD1.06 billion) in the three months ended 30 November 2019, the first quarter of the group’s 2020 fiscal year. Quarterly adjusted EBITDA increased 8.1% to CAD588 million while if excluding the CAD38 million impact from IFRS 16 accounting standards adoption, adjusted EBITDA growth was approximately 1.1%.
In the quarter, Freedom Mobile added 57,900 net mobile subscribers, with 66,900 net post-paid additions and 9,000 net pre-paid losses, reflecting demand for its ‘Big Gig’ data-centric post-paid packages and ‘Absolute Zero’ pricing options, alongside higher pre-paid churn due to toughening competition. Wireless service revenue for the three-month period increased 18.1% to CAD196 million.
Shaw’s quarterly fixed network revenue fell 1.5% to CAD1.067 billion as RGUs declined by 57,500 in three months (compared to a loss of 52,800 RGUs in the first quarter of fiscal 2019). Consumer broadband RGUs saw net growth of 5,600, while consumer cable/satellite TV and telephony RGUs declined by an aggregate 72,000 RGUs. Shaw highlighted that its launch of advanced ‘BlueCurve Total’ services helped slow the decline in pay-TV subscribers, while it remains focused on growing internet subscriptions, primarily through two-year Value Plans – also helped by Freedom Home Internet plans – and on attracting and retaining high quality TV/video customers.
Group CAPEX of CAD260 million in the quarter was lower than CAD271 million invested a year ago, as wireless spending decreased by approximately CAD11 million y-o-y due to higher costs of 700MHz spectrum deployment and network expansion into new markets in the previous year. Quarterly net income of CAD162 million compared to CAD186 million in the year-ago quarter (primarily due to CAD23 million in equity income recorded a year before via investment in Corus Entertainment – this investment was disposed of in the third quarter of fiscal 2019).