Shaw Communications, Inc. (NYSE:SJR) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Oct 25, 2018 • 09:00 am ET
Thank you for standing by. This is the conference operator. Welcome to the Shaw Communications Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2018 Conference Call and Webcast. Today's call will be hosted by Mr. Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode and the conference is being recorded. Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. (Operator Instructions)
(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)
Mr. Shaw, I will now turn the conference over to you.
Thank you, operator and good morning, everyone. With me today are members of our senior management team, including Jay, Trevor and Paul. I am pleased with the progress we have made throughout 2018, towards our overarching goal of delivering long-term and sustainable growth. Wireless had an exceptional year with all of our key performance metrics moving in the right direction, including postpaid additions of 85,000 customers in Q4. In 2018, we would grew our subscriber base by over 255,000 or 22% compared to F 2017, to end the year at just over 1.4 million customers.
Our Big Data plans, combined with our latest devices available in the market continue to drive higher quality and higher lifetime value customers to Freedom Mobile. Our wireless service is even now accessible to Canadians to the addition of 240 locations launched with our national retail partners, Loblaws and Walmart.
As we grow our subscriber base in F 2018, we also increased ARPU, particularly in the last half of the year as our Big Gig plan gained momentum, leading to strong ARPU growth of 9% in Q4. Through these results, it is evident that we are delivering a differentiated and sustainable value proposition, and we expect to gain additional wireless market share and continue to grow ARPU throughout F 2019.
Supporting our wireless strategy is the significant ongoing network improvements that are quickly creating a strong, high-quality network and clearly benefiting our customers. The team has done a terrific job of managing and deploying spectrum in the most efficient way, including the initial launch of our extended range LTE in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Southern Ontario.
The extended range LTE utilizes the 700 spectrum that we acquired last year, and we will further deploy this spectrum throughout our network over the course of F 2019. We also launched VoLTE over a wide range of devices, and we'll continue to roll this out to all eligible phones and customers over the coming months, including the iPhone, bringing the total customer base to approximately 800,000 that will be using VoLTE by the end of 2018.
Wireless investments remain a priority as we head into F 2019 and continue to grow our subscriber base. In addition to the spectrum deployment, we will also expand our wireless network into new markets this year, with a focus on Western Canada. By the end of fiscal 2019, our network will cover an additional population of approximately 1.3 million, and we will start to explore cross-selling opportunities with Freedom Mobile and Shaw Wireline customers,