Shaw, Videotron snap up wireless market

Two will serve 8.2 mil subscribers by end of 2015

TORONTO -- Canadian cable operators Shaw Communications and Videotron stand to capture 24% of the country's wireless phone market within six years, the Convergence Consulting Group of Toronto said Thursday.

Calgary-based Shaw and Montreal-based Videotron were top buyers of wireless spectrum during an auction this summer by the federal government.

The Convergence Consulting report said the ability of Shaw, western Canada's biggest cable operator, and Videotron, Quebec's biggest cabler, to bundle products meant they will cut deeply into the domestic mobile phone market share now held by incumbents such as rival cabler Rogers Communications and phone giants Bell Canada and Telus.

After they launch new mobile phone services in 2009, Covergence Consulting forecast Shaw and Videotron will serve about 8.2 million subscribers combined, or 24% of the national market, by the end of 2015.

The recent government auction of radio airwaves is the latest move by Ottawa to get competing cable and phone companies to offer cheaper TV, phone and Internet services.