Freedom set to support older iPhones with spectrum rejig, deployment

Originally published by The Wire Report
Author: Ahmad Hathout

Shaw Communications Inc. announced Thursday that it would move to redeploy existing spectrum in addition to deploying new spectrum to allow it to support older Apple Inc. iPhones — addressing a shortcoming analysts have pointed to as a limiting factor for the company.

“I think you can appreciate that’s a major shift for us as we build out our LTE network,” Shaw president Jay Mehr said on a conference call with analysts following its fourth quarter earnings report Thursday, referring to its newly expanded base of support for handsets.

As part of a multi-step roadmap for its Freedom business, Shaw noted that it needed to establish a handset device “ecosystem” to propel its wireless division forward. In a first quarter conference call with analysts at the beginning of the year, the company said it would at least quadruple its handset offering by the middle of the year.

“We’ve come a long way and as we launch all those [devices], I think we’ll have handset ecosystem parity,” Mehr said.

To do that, it announced in one of several press releases Thursday that it would “refarm” some of its AWS-1 spectrum and deploy its recently-purchased 2500MHz spectrum from Quebecor Inc. to support the “vast majority” of LTE devices on the market today, including older iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s Galaxy models. Analysts have said that despite improvements to its network that Shaw would reap from the spectrum buys, the benefits would take time to see.

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